Vancouver resident Sally Snyder shares her frustration with the Vancouver School District over the lack of communication with parents about a recent vaccine clinic
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
For 13 years I’ve been involved in an amazing school district at Vancouver Public Schools, serving on PTA for elementary and middle school and volunteering in my children’s classrooms. It saddens me the level of deceit, lack of transparency, and no communication to parents regarding what happened around a school vaccine clinic and a vaccine webinar.
For adults to get vaccinated or not is a personal decision. I respect those who choose to get vaccinated and those that don’t. I’m not an anti-vaxxer. My children have their childhood vaccinations, but when it comes to an FDA emergency use COVID-19 vaccine, and vaccinating kids at a clinic where school staff actively promoted it behind parents’ backs, it stoops to a whole new level of deceit.
Parents were completely left out of the conversation, while emails were being sent out only to students around a school vaccine webinar and a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. VPS administrators and teachers at Columbia River High School chose to send these emails out only to students for weeks, from May 6 to May 24.
These emails sent out to students asked students to fill out an anonymous form, reach out with questions or concerns to teachers/staff, contact the Clark County Public Health Department and message us on Instagram. Why no mention in these emails, Q&A form and flyer, for the kids to ask questions to their parents? Why was an email about a vaccine webinar sent to school staff, then forwarded by a teacher to an undisclosed list of recipients, which included students? Why did the VPS School Board wait four days after the Ridgefield High School vaccine clinic was over to admit they had received parent emails regarding concerns over parents not being included in notifications?
It sure feels like an infringement on parents’ rights when parents are excluded from such important information. Why did VPS school administration email COVID-19 vaccine clinic sign-up information out to ALL students and ALL faculty at Columbia River High School two times before the scheduled vaccine clinic on May 26 and NEVER included parents? Why did school administrators only email the vaccine clinic information out to Columbia River parents AFTER the district school bus left Columbia River and AFTER the vaccine clinic at Ridgefield High School had started?
Public records requests revealed they were aware of this vaccine clinic on May 12. Since parent consent was needed to attend the vaccine clinic, why weren’t parents included in all these emails? Even after multiple public records requests it’s still unknown who paid for the district school buses to transport kids from Columbia River to Ridgefield High School for the vaccine clinic and back. Was it tax payers?
Public records requests showed three kids were transported from Columbia River to Ridgefield for the vaccine clinic. All this hiding info behind parents’ backs to improve access to the vaccine?
Parents please look inside the walls of your school. Please check to see what information your school administrators and teachers are emailing directly into your children’s school email inbox. Demand that your school always includes parents in the conversation. These are our children!
Start attending your school board meetings and hold them accountable for setting communication standards and following it themselves. Otherwise we parents ask ourselves, what else are the schools hiding behind parents’ backs?
A very disappointed parent.