Letter: Vancouver Public School parents in the dark again


Vancouver resident Katie Bauer discusses the Vancouver School District’s plan to open COVID testing sites on five school campuses

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

On Wed., Dec. 1, a local newspaper article that described how Embry Health has partnered with Vancouver Public Schools to open up COVID testing sites on five school campuses that would have started Mon., Dec. 6. These sites were slated to be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. or 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m., depending on the campus. The article went on to say that 22 schools in total would be open by January as testing sites. Clark County has a population of approximately 500,000. Twenty-two testing sites, open for at least 10 hours a day, five days a week seems excessive.

Katie Bauer
Katie Bauer

VPS has a policy about testing needed to return to school after an illness. Testing is required if a student is not vaccinated and playing a contact sport. This is required twice a week for the duration of the sport season. The coaches administer/monitor this testing and test results are sent to the Health Department. High school basketball season is 12 weeks so that would be 24 nasal swabs for a student involved in basketball – additional if the team travels to tournaments.

The phone calls by parents to school district employees started at 8 a.m. on Dec. 1. The answers varied between statements such as “I have no idea what you are talking about” to “the communication by (the newspaper) was premature.’’ An employee at McLaughlin Middle School stated that he was unaware of the school becoming a testing site. When this employee was told 22 were coming by January, he laughed and said, “what are they planning for?” An employee at Gaiser Middle School also stated that the school had no information on becoming a testing site.

Embry Health was contacted. The employee at Embry was surprised the school district was not aware of their internal press release that was sent out on Tue., Nov. 30. Embry stated they have a contract with VPS. PODS were being delivered to the school testing sites. Alki Middle School had a POD in the parking lot. Thomas Jefferson Middle School had a POD in their parking lot but was not listed initially as a testing site. The reporter of the newspaper article was contacted. He said he received a press release from Embry and wrote the article. He did not contact the school district to verify the information. Before noon on Dec. 1 the article was re-written online. The PODS have since been removed.

Testing for an illness is appropriate. Is having 22 testing sites on school campuses appropriate? Are there plans to make testing mandatory to attend school, vaccinated or not? VPS campuses are closed to the public during school hours. Why would the public be allowed onto school property to congregate at COVID sites? Parents can’t volunteer on school property unless they are vaccinated. And those coming for testing may be coming because they have symptoms. Who is going to oversee security until 8 p.m.? VPS or Embry? Parents recently received an email regarding a student who experienced ‘stranger danger’ at her school bus stop. Could this be an issue at 22 campuses? Who is paying for all of this?

By noon on Dec. 1, VPS sent out a notice. “Vancouver Public Schools has been exploring partnerships to expand local COVID-19 testing capability and help families and staff members access tests. With the help of Clark County Public Health, the district is vetting possible partners but has not yet finalized any partnerships.”

As of the date this article was sent in, Embry website is still showing several job postings advertised for Vancouver, WA for testing and vaccination sites. https://embryhealth.breezy.hr/?&location=Vancouver%2C%20WA#positions

Parents and taxpayers need to be fully informed on all happenings at VPS.

Katie Bauer
Vancouver

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Valerie Anderson
Valerie Anderson
5 months ago

This is a message that needs to be heard by the public schools: First, the citizens of Vancouver and Clark County do more investigative journalism than the Columbian ‘newspaper’ or the TV ‘news’ channels have in years. Second, turnabout is fair play; we are watching you, too, not just with big tech and corporate media but actual boots on the actual ground. Third, you are educators, not medical providers. You should focus on education. You’re currently failing at your job. Do your job. That’s what we pay you to do.

Christopher Armstrong
Christopher Armstrong
5 months ago

You do realize that the teachers won’t actually be administering the tests I hope.

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
5 months ago

Teachers are already administering Covid tests to kids in all VPS schools for sports. You do realize kids are now discriminated against by the district? Kids in middle school and high school are forced to get vaccinated or Covid test 2x’s a week to play basketball or wrestling. Doesn’t matter your medical history. In basketball that’s about 30 Covid tests. If you do both sports that is FIFTY Covid tests in less than 6 months. Forced tests or don’t play, period. Watch the Nov 30th VPS school board meeting where the superintendent states they would continue with staff doing testing inside and have the parking lot testing sites running at same time until they make sure the bugs all worked out. There were so many bugs they couldn’t get it open, because parents don’t want their kids schools filled with sick public. What about safety issue of bringing people onto closed campuses? Embry Health was dropping PODS in parking lots of TJ and Alki to set up and they had not received health permits, nor finalized agreement with District. The District knew this. Do some research on them. They also administer Covid vaccines! Look at their job postings for Vancouver. OSPI Chris Reykdal stated in a recent educators conference that a vaccine mandate will start in early spring or by fall when school starts. Forced vaccination of healthy kids to go to school has arrived and VPS has strategically been planning to push this onto your kids! You didn’t think the discrimination would end with just teachers did you? ESSER funds. Money talks!

Katie Bauer
Katie Bauer
5 months ago

Coaches and athletic directors currently administer the covid testing. They received training by watching a video.

Bill DeBoard
5 months ago

Get vaccinated to add COVID to the list of vaccine-managed diseases like measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, chicken pox, whooping cough, Hib, Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, the flu, and polio. Get tested if you think you were exposed. Nasal swabs are way less expensive than possible hospitalization for the loved ones you come in contact with. Details at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/forgot-14-diseases.html

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill DeBoard

Kids are not being hospitalized. Get the facts when it comes to a Covid vaccine for children. https://www.askhealthyquestions.com/kids-and-covid, Schools are not medical facilities, they are for academics!

Bill DeBoard
5 months ago
Reply to  Sally Snyder

Kids can take COVID home and pass it on to parents, other relatives, and anyone else they come in contact with. Woe to any of them who are medically fragile.
If schools were just for academics, schools would not have cafeterias to feed them, busses to transport them, sports to nurture their bodies, music and the arts to expand their development, school nurses to care for them, and school resource officers to protect them. What, just reading, writing, and arithmetic?

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill DeBoard
Margaret
Margaret
5 months ago

The WSBOH Promotion Committee held a Special Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 9 and Clark County Councilor Temple Lentz was present as a member. There was an Update: Preparations for technical advisory group to consider COVID-19 for inclusion in chapter 246-105 WAC by rule-making, which would add COVID 19 to the list of required school vaccines for public and private schools, pre-k thru 12. There was discussion about exemptions to vaccination. Current policy and practice allows for philosophical, religious, and medical exemptions, There is no requirement for a parent to validate or prove their
personal or religious beliefs. If a healthcare provider attests to having had a case of chickenpox, that is also accepted as proof of immunity. Lab titer testing for evidence of natural immunity instead of vaccination is currently accepted for all diseases for which vaccines are “required”. So far, it’s unclear whether WA state has or will recognize lab evidence of having had covid as proof of immunity for PreK-12 students, higher ed students and staff, or other employees of the state and companies in WA State. Informed Choice Washington provides information about exemptions to vaccination requirements for students here.

Michelle
Michelle
5 months ago
Reply to  Margaret

Margaret, is this meeting available on Zoom?