Kennewick Board Splits 3-2, Delays Middle-High School to Feb. 2
Despite a green light (with precautions) from the BFHD, the Kennewick School District split voted 3-2 to delay middle and high school students return to in-person education until February 2, 2021.
During last nights meeting, the BFHD Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amy Person was OK with the hybrid, but voiced additional opinions that students should be organized in smaller groups (probably less than a traditional classroom).
That, according to comments made in the Zoom meeting, were why School Board members Dawn Adams (President) Diane Sundvik and Ron Mabry voted for the delay. They reportedly believe having to re-section students into smaller groups would prove to be too difficult logistically.
This decision comes the week that K-5 students returned to in person class under the A-B plan. A goes Monday Tuesday, B goes Thursday Friday with all off Wednesday. Students would do online the days they are not in class.
The middle and h.s. students were slated to start the A-B November 2. Board President Dawn Adams was heard to say “There is a blatant disregard for a virus that is horrible." Adams herself contracted COVID and has been outspoken against in person education, as has been Sundvik. Mabry did not appear to offer comment as to why he voted for delay, or at least none heard on the Zoom monitoring.
According to those listening on the Zoom meeting, Sundvik also apparently claimed she's heard of parents who facilitated parties (some sort of social gatherings) for students; most likely get togethers for their children and friends.
Board members Heather Kintzley and Mike Connors opposed the delay. Both felt administrators should rely on medical and expert advice, likely including the green light from the BFHD, in making such decisions. Connors alluded to the extreme difficulty experienced by many students with the online education. He pointed to grade performance from online students as some of the worst the district has ever seen.
Understandably, social media, including Facebook, exploded with comments from KSD parents and families. Some of the comments from various groups included (names etc. withheld for privacy and safety):
- "My 10year old loves school. She is a social butterfly and thrives with in person help. This year has ruined her motivation and love for school. She is failing 2 classes and the teacher is just piling on the work..."
- "We need to say enough is enough. Private schools have been going since school started. No shut downs no issues. I guess the virus only goes jnto public schools.."
- "This is out of control. We can’t let them do this to our kids!!"
- "Unbelievable. Pathetic"
- "in the next 4 years these will be new voters. They will remember how you all sold them out. How you all abused their right to a good education. Say goodbye to your state jobs cause I see a wave of charter schools coming our way."
And one senior posted this on Facebook after the announcement of the delay. It was a screenshot image, but it read as follows:
"thank you for ruining my senior year, thank your for ruining my last year, thank you for crushing my senior graduation, thank you for crushing everything I worked for the last 13 years. I hate you Kennewick School District."