Vancouver resident Valerie Anderson raises questions about the Vancouver School District’s approach to addressing COVID-19 during the 2021-2022 school year
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
This week marks one of the most anticipated, and for some students, parents and public school district employees, most dreaded beginnings for a school year. As almost everyone is aware, there are many hotly contested issues as students head back to the classrooms, many of which have been previously addressed by the editor of Clark County Today and by letters written in to the opinion page. Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive Sex Ed, mandatory masking for students, and vaccine mandates for state employees, including teachers have been hot topics everywhere. But, as our children head into the classrooms this week there are a few issues that have not been the subject of discussion because few people even know about it.
Allow me to inform you: There are plans to have PCR testing ON THE STUDENTS in the schools on a weekly, possibly twice weekly basis. (Yes, we have verbal and email confirmation from the schools and the district.) And students will be tracked using their own cell phones and URL stickers on chairs, desks and tables in classrooms and cafeterias. (Yes, we have actual pictures and verbal confirmation from the schools.)
If you’re not like me, and your blood doesn’t instantly boil upon reading this, or if you’re just not in the loop in medical and technology fields, allow me to simply ask a few questions that came to my mind, and perhaps you can find your own answers, because I certainly haven’t gotten any.
PCR Testing for COVID-19 in schools
I work in a medical clinic and we do regular COVID testing and there is a strict protocol involved in testing. So, these are the questions that I asked Dr. Snell, the superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools. I did not receive satisfying answers to any of these questions.
• Will school personnel administering the tests be properly donning and doffing full PPE (eye wear, mask, gown, gloves) between each student they test?
• How will they be tracking the chain of custody for biological samples and maintaining HIPAA privacy for patients and health information and test results?
• Do they have a secure medical software system to maintain and track testing results?
• How will they be reporting testing results to the Department of Health?
• Who will be informing parents or guardians of results?
• Do they have registered nurses available to give medical advice if needed?
• How will biological waste be disposed of?
• To whom will test results be disclosed?
• What is the turnaround time for results?
Additional concerns raised by other parents are regarding the chemicals present on the swabs used for testing. You didn’t think it was just a q-tip, did you? Have any of you been tested for COVID? I have! It’s not pleasant! Are you OK with NON-medical personnel ramming a chemical-laced stick up your healthy child’s nose into their fragile nasal membranes twice a week, or worse yet, “letting” them do it?
If my child is sick, I will take him to the doctor. Isn’t that what parents do?
One last question: Who is paying for all these tests? The DOH, or the public schools? Never mind. It’s you. YOU are paying for it. The taxpayers.
As for the URL code tracking:
Have you had a few minutes to have the back part of your mind mull that over? Have you come up with a few problems? Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way: What if a child doesn’t have a phone? We asked that question and were told, “That’s OK. The teacher will use their phone and do it for them.” What now? So, now, we have teachers and students using their personal cell phone devices to “tag” themselves (or others?) all over the school building. But what if the student moves to a different table or chair after scanning in? What if the chair they are sitting in now becomes the COVID “hot seat?’’ Cell phones are constantly out of pockets or backpacks and in use, (so much for focus on education!) and in photo mode. The phone you provide for your child is now being used by the public school to DO THEIR JOB FOR THEM. Did you ask them to track your child using their (YOUR) cell phone? I surely did not!
A couple of last questions to ask regarding both issues:
What do you think the school district will do with the information they gather from testing and tracking? What if there is a false positive (believe me, I can tell you for sure — it happens all the time); does your child get deprived of their education, sports and activities even when they are completely healthy?
If your child is healthy, if they are all wearing masks, if the teachers and staff are all vaccinated, if everyone over the age of 12 in Washington state who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated … why do CHILDREN need to be tested? Why do CHILDREN need to be tracked?
Do the masks work, or not?
Do the vaccines work, or not?
It’s time. It’s time to start asking the hard questions, even if you haven’t up till now. Your child’s future depends on it. In some cases if you’d like to look into teen suicide rates, your child’s LIFE depends on it.
And if you have already asked those hard questions, and you haven’t already pulled your children out of public schools, it’s time to teach them how to say no to an adult. It’s time to let them know that their body is private and nobody touches it without their permission. And if someone tries, they should say NO! And run away if they have to.
It’s time to tell them that the phone you gave them is your private property and to help keep them safe. And unless they feel threatened or ill and they need to call you, phones should stay stowed away in backpacks. Whatever teachers want to do with their phones is up to them.
Finally, if you don’t believe me and want to find out for yourself if PCR testing and URL tracking will be implemented in your child’s school in VPS, please, by all means call or email your school’s principal and ask. And if you have questions. Ask! And if you don’t like what you hear, TELL THEM! Right now. Before someone physically assaults your child, or uses your personal devices in a manner you never intended for them to be used.
You are the parent. You are the taxpayer. You are the boss.
It’s time to start acting like it.