School Board Asks California to Revise Mask Mandate Policy

By Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for four years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.
June 24, 2021 Updated: June 24, 2021

The Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees is opposing a California policy that will require students to wear masks when they return to classrooms.

It passed a resolution on June 23 to send a letter to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), requesting a timely revision of face-covering guidance for schools and school-based programs.

The resolution, which passed in a 5–2 vote, was authored by Trustee Lisa Davis, who said the risk of children becoming infected with COVID-19 was not worth the psychological problems face coverings cause.

“Masking students in school for a disease that has minimal risk for them blatantly disregards the available clinical data,” Davis said during the board meeting. “Teachers, staff, and administrators can be fully vaccinated by the fall. There is no reason for continued masking of students.”

The resolution, which asks the CDPH to revise its school mask mandates, is largely symbolic as the department holds power in making the decision, not any school board.

The resolution said that the school district has not had a single verified case of transmission on any of its campuses, that school-aged children are less likely to contract and transmit the virus, that infection rates have dramatically fallen amid increased vaccinations, and that students have reported an increase of rashes, eye infections, headaches, asthmatic symptoms, and anxiety related to wearing masks.

Not everyone agreed with the resolution.

Board Vice President Krista Castellanos said that as a teacher, she is well aware of the difficulties that come with teaching and learning with masks on. However, she said the guidelines are there for a reason.

“Two of my 5-year-old students lost fathers this year,” she said. “And the anguish those families suffered is indescribable,” Castellanos said. “The safety guidelines that are in place are here for a reason and exist to keep our children and family safe. It would be difficult for me to sign my name to this resolution, demanding CDPH to expedite their research to accommodate the needs or the demands of some parents.”

Trustee Amy Hanacek, who along with Castellanos voted against the resolution, said she had concerns that the perspective of families who still want masks are not being represented.

“Is this really best practice for this board to send out a public communication that appears to elevate one group over another?” Hanacek said. “Is the board opening itself up to accusations of discriminatory actions? Should we collectively be taking sides sending a resolution that, although symbolic, appears to elevate one voice over another and thus could marginalize or have a deleterious effect on others?”

The California Department of Public Health didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for four years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.