Hypocrisy: CVUSD Campuses Safe for Student Daycare, but Unsafe for School Re-Opening?

By Jim Clark

THOUSAND OAKS, CA – As families were still reeling from the announcement last week from the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) that schools will be closed this fall for in-person learning, CVUSD announced that they will be offering additional daycare, in the now empty campuses, to parents for $850 per child per month.

Letter about CVUSD Daycare

Letter from CVUSD about daycare availability in the schools

The community has reacted with outrage because of the appearance of hypocrisy. The school district cancelled in-person school, with the blessing of the county health department, on Thursday, July 16. The very next day the Governor then made his own announcement that schools would remain closed. The stated reason for keeping schools closed was that it was unsafe to open them. But the continued school closures fly in the face of the current science. Even Obama administration health officials recommend re-opening schools. But if it is unsafe for classrooms to be open to students and teachers, shouldn’t it also be unsafe for students and daycare workers?

A Conejo Valley resident asked this very question to Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health Officer. Dr. Levin’s email response was, “I’m sorry but this was a decision made at the State level and I don’t know their reasoning.”

Levin’s response appears to be intentionally deceptive. According to records, Levin made the decision to support the closure of Ventura County schools the day BEFORE the Governor made the statewide decision. So why won’t Levin share the reasoning behind his own independent decision on the matter? Why does Levin seem to be trying to deceive the public into thinking that he never made the decision to recommend closing Ventura County schools, but instead he is just conveniently blaming Governor Newsom? 

Parents want to know why their families’ lives are being turned upside down in order to continue the school closures, especially when there does not seem to be any scientific justification for this draconian approach. Numerous studies from around the world confirm that the health risks of closing schools far outweigh the risks of opening schools. A recent study in Lancet (a premier medical journal) indicated that 83% of young people with mental illness history experienced a deterioration of their mental condition during the pandemic school closures.

The school shutdown is clearly harming the students educationally. Even the left-leaning Brookings Institution has published research on the lost learning due to the lockdown, which they refer to as the “COVID Slide.” Math and Reading performance has measurably suffered. The CDC reports that minorities are getting hit especially hard academically. Why aren’t these extended school lockdowns being criticized as racist, when disadvantaged minorities are being harmed the most by them?

CVUSD Reopen Survey

But even if our local government officials really believe that it is too risky to open schools, why would they open the same schools for daycare for the very same children?

“It’s unbelievable,” said Amy [last name withheld], mother of an elementary school student in Newbury Park. “They don’t feel it’s safe to have on-campus school for a few hours a day. But they’ll watch your kids in the classroom while they have online learning and charge you $850 for it. There is no logic in this at all. Only corruption.”

CVUSD School Board member Sandee Everett also chimed in on the issue. “What happened to a free public education?” said Everett. “If daycare can operate, so can our schools. We are using our classrooms for daycare that costs $850 per month? I am speechless. I will be bringing this up with district leadership.”

This new plan is definitely a financial winner for the school district, but a loser for parents. With schools closed and doing remote learning only, the district still receives all the funding from the State as if the students were physically present in the classrooms for their courses. By double-dipping – i.e. using those same classrooms to collect $850 monthly per student for daycare – CVUSD gets to collect double funding for each classroom from the state (as if student classes are actually being held there) and then also directly from the parents who have to work and suddenly have to pay for daycare now that their kids can’t go to school.

The current plan also begs the question of why teachers need to be protected from student-borne COVID-19 infections, but somehow daycare workers do not need this protection. It should be noted that schools have re-opened around the world and there is no evidence that the virus has ever been spread from student to teacher. The actions of CVUSD have given many parents the impression that the schools are not closed because of any real danger from COVID-19, but only because the teachers’ union has demanded the closures.

Governor Newsom indicated that waivers could be issued by the state for local elementary schools to open. CVUSD Superintendent Mark McLaughlin has not indicated that he will be requesting these waivers for CVUSD elementary schools, nor has he offered any explanation to the public why he has not requested the waivers. He should explain his position, since elementary school students and teachers are not at any significant risk of catching COVID-19 at school, according to overwhelming research on this question.

In a survey of CVUSD parents and teachers back in May, 78% of parents and students indicated that they wanted to return to school full-time in the fall. 74% of teachers agreed. It is therefore abundantly clear that the union does not faithfully represent the wishes of the teachers in this matter. It is time that CVUSD listens to parents, students and teachers instead of the political activists that run the union. Too many kids are being harmed by the continuation of this political circus. Listen to the science. Open the schools.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


Jim Clark is a resident of the Conejo Valley


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7 Responses to Hypocrisy: CVUSD Campuses Safe for Student Daycare, but Unsafe for School Re-Opening?

  1. Trevor McCutchen July 30, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Or give the daycare staff…the ones that are unnecessarily having their safety put in jeopardy…a raise.

    Reply
  2. William Hicks July 30, 2020 at 2:43 am

    Teachers union’s are the stumbling block. Why does one group of people, that have the corner on the market, need a union? If they had to compete for the tax dollars, like any other business would, they would all be out of a job.

    Reply
  3. M Samson July 27, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Open Schools Now!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: California Districts Offering On-Campus "Day Care" and Help With Distance Learning

  5. Pingback: California Districts Offering On-Campus "Day Care" and Help With Distance Learning | Political Bomb Show

  6. Pippa Parker July 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Shame on you CVUSD. Use our classrooms to have in-person instruction for our children this fall, not for daycare.

    Reply
    • William Hicks July 30, 2020 at 2:44 am

      OR, give us our portion of taxes to take our children to a place of our choice.

      Reply

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