North State educators, leaders, call for changes to Governor’s new CDHP school guidance plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In an open letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, 1st Senate District Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) and his wife, California 1st District Assemblywoman Meghan Dahle (R-Bieber), along with school superintendents throughout the North State region, urged the Governor to rethink his “arbitrary guidance” related to school re-openings “and leave this authority to local health officers.”

The letter followed the Governor’s January 14th guidance for schools released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which Senator Dahle and others say “hinders, rather than helps, these schools to continue their efforts to provide safe, in-person instruction.”

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“Everyone in Sacramento is rightfully talking about re-opening school classrooms, which I strongly support, but these discussions too often ignore the many school districts across California that have already been teaching students in-person,” Senator Dahle explained; adding, “Many schools in my District in the northeastern part of California have been operating safely, in-person, since August.”

“Your administration’s recent focus on the importance and safety of reopening schools is well deserved and timely, as it has been nearly a year since most of the state’s classrooms were closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter to Newsom began. “However, we write to share the frustration of educators, parents, and communities whose schools have already been open to in-person instruction — many since the start of the school year in August.”

Saying schools have risen to the occasion to provide safe, in-person instruction to North State region students, the letter to the Governor explained, “Some did it because distance learning was impossible due to lack of broadband access, while some were simply committed to doing the essential work of public education.”

“Overwhelmingly, while following the previous CDPH guidance and working closely with county health officers, they have seen minimal if any transmission of COVID-19 on school campuses,” the letter continued. “They have worked closely with their labor partners to meet any employee safety concerns; working conditions have proven safe and overwhelmingly their teachers want to continue working in traditional classrooms.”

SEE RELATED: Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom

Despite the North State region’s successes with re-opening their schools and continuing in-person learning, the letter sent to Newsom expressed frustration that their area’s needs and proven successes continue to be ignored without ample and thoughtful consideration.

“Their success amid adversity has been absent in discussions about whether it is safe to open schools in California, even though there is ample data from local public health officers that it is working,” the letter added.

“The January 14th school guidance has moved the goalpost yet again for these schools, and will force them to move backwards to a hybrid model, particularly due to the rigid new requirements for four feet of distance between desks,” the letter continued. “This arbitrary new rule will force a return to distance-learning without any data suggesting that COVID-19 is spreading on campuses, or that community transmission is worse in these communities.”

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According to Senator Dahle and others, although CDPH eventually decided to allow individual districts to file “safety review requests” to appeal for permission to do what they had already been successfully doing, “in some cases for months”, the process is causing further strain on educators and school administrators.

“We appreciate the work done by our schools and parents, and don’t want Sacramento special interests to ruin it,” the Senator and others said in their appeal to the Governor; adding, “This unworkable guidance … is generating confusion and paperwork for school administrators who are already overwhelmed.”

“As local education leaders, we need the flexibility to continue the practices we have developed,” the letter concluded; with Senator Dahle adding that “…any plan to help schools elsewhere in the state to re-open should not hurt the successful work these districts have already done.”



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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