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Battles Over School Mask Mandates

 August 16, 2021 at 4:55 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, August 16th >>>> Anti-mask protestors derail a vista school board meeting More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### San Diego County public health officials reported 1700 new covid-19 cases last friday. It was the highest single day count the county has seen since last January. 31 additional people were hospitalized with two more sent to the ICU. The county’s positive case rate over the past week was 8.33%. Currently, the hospitalization rate is 51 times higher for those who are unvaccinated. ######## In San Diego county, the cost of housing and rent has significantly increased. This has driven up the inflation rate, which is higher in San Diego when compared to the national average. Miro Copic is the founder of Bottomline Marketing and a business commentator for KPBS. He says home prices in San DIego, which are about double the national average, have likely peaked, but rental price increases show no signs of slowing down. “Rent has been going up, and the scary thing about rents, is that rents went up when there's a vacant apartment an average of 18%. That also was a big driver for our inflation rate.” ####### Every year pregnant leopard sharks flock by the hundreds to La Jolla shores. They’re attracted to warm, shallow water with lots of squid to eat. Andrew Nosal is an environmental and ocean sciences professor at the University of San Diego. “Now is a great time to get in the water with them. The calmer the water usually the better the conditions are for snorkeling and kayaking and you can usually see more sharks then too when it’s nice and calm.” But don’t try to touch them, he says. The leopard sharks will be in the area until December or as long as the water is warm. ######## From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. There was high Drama at a school board meeting in Vista last week. The Thursday meeting was shut down several times when protesters refused to wear masks inside. KPBS North county reporter Tania Thorne spoke to parents on Friday about what happened. Tensions were high at a school board meeting in Vista last night. “If they do not wear their masks we cannot continue the business of the board at this point in time.” Vista School board president, Cipriano Vargas shut down the meeting several times because people refused to wear their masks. “At this point in time I’m going to reconvene the meeting. If members of the public are still not gonna keep wearing their mask, we will have to reconvene at another location.” The public was moved to a different room when it was time for the public comment. Sharon McKeeman, the leader of the group “Let Them Breathe” was there. She was not wearing a mask because she has a medical exemption. “When it came to my time to speak they let me come into the building but then when I got to the chambers they actually slammed the door in my face.” McKeeman was unable to give her comment. Let Them Breathes’ legal advisor sent an email to the Vista School Board stating there is no mask mandate in place… and saying the choice to remove members of the public from a public meeting violates the Brown Act. “Last night was supposed to be a school board meeting, so we were supposed to be able to listen and watch what the school board’s business was and we were supposed to each have that allotted time on the microphone where nobody interrupts in, there's no arguing, and that didn't happen.” While “Let Them Breathe” has been campaigning against mask mandates, other parents are starting to organize a counter group supporting mask rules. Kristen Beer is starting one called Parents 4 PUSD… for Poway Unified School District. “Our goal is to let all of the other parents in the SD School system know that if they do not want our school district to apply for waivers to the mask mandate, they are not alone, there's lots of us, lots of parents who are ok sending our kids masked.” Beer says mask choice will create more chaos for the school and teachers. “If they’re enforcing the same rule for everyone, children understand that, that's the rule, we all follow the same rule, that's what elementary school is all about. That's the most important thing you can teach an elementary school child, to follow the rules they don't like because it's the right thing to do.” She said the group's goal is to balance out the noise that has been heard from opposing groups. “All we’ve seen so far are this vocal minority who seem to have the time and money for protests and lawsuits and organized disruption of school board meetings.” Parents 4 PUSD will hold a rally outsidethe Poway Unified School District's office tomorrow/Saturday at 10am. TT KPBS News And that reporting was from KPBS North county reporter, Tania Thorne. ########## A week after the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department released an edited video of a deputy supposedly overdosing on fentanyl…. they released the unedited bodycam video. KPBS reporter John Carroll says the longer videos still leave unanswered questions. After packaging up some fentanyl taken from a suspect’s vehicle, Deputy David Faiivae suddenly stiffens and falls back. Almost immediately, his training officer, Deputy Scott Crane administers naloxone… given to people who have OD’d on opioids. s where he takes the naloxone out of its package and administers it. “Wake up buddy” (radio traffic) The blowback came within hours - medical professionals across the country saying what the video showed was not an example of overdosing on fentanyl - lashing out at the Sheriff’s Department for releasing a video many said misportrayed a situation that plays out with deadly consequences across the country every day. CG: Dr. Carla Marienfeld/UCSD Addiction Recovery & Treatment Program “I think it’s helpful to release the full version so that people can see as much as you can see from a body cam.” Dr. Carla Marienfeld is the medical director of UC San Diego’s Addiction Recovery and Treatment Program. She has not seen the unedited version of the video yet. With what she has seen, she doesn’t feel comfortable saying what happened to Deputy David Faiivae was an overdose. Marienfeld says she’s more concerned about the unintended message the video sends. “The most important message is that people shouldn’t be afraid of incidental exposure to fentanyl in a limited way like this to where they would not act to help someone who might be overdosing.” One thing that is new from the unedited version comes when Deputy Faiivae is answering questions from a paramedic. “Any medical history that you know about?” “Probably the sixth or seventh time I’ve fallen on my head.” That leads to an obvious question as to whether Deputy Faiivae has a history of fainting, and if that’s what happened here. Dr. Marienfeld says… hard to tell. “I think that you want to take into consideration the fact that the patient may have had previous head injuries and whether or not some of what he was presenting with currently was related to him hitting his head in any way.” Then there’s the question of a toxicology test. The Sheriff’s Department now says one was not done at the hospital. Dr. Marienfeld says that’s not unusual. “In the emergency room, you’re trying to be as efficient as possible and helping somebody. In that situation where the story was consistent with a fentanyl exposure “It wouldn’t necessarily make sense to check to see if there was fentanyl in his system, particularly if the story you heard as the physician was that the patient responded to naloxone.” And that reporting from KPBS’ John Carroll. KPBS reached out to the Sheriff’s department for clarification, but was told they weren’t doing any interviews at the time. Californians with developmental disabilities are at high risk of death from COVID-19. Advocates say caregivers who work with this population should be required to get vaccinated. CapRadio’s Sammy Caiola [kay-OH-luh] has more. People with disabilities and their loved ones are worried about catching the highly contagious delta variant. Judy Mark is the president of Disability Voices United “We are starting to hear stories now, every single day, of people who are vaccinated who have developmental disabilities who are getting breakthrough cases that they’ve gotten from their staff, from people who work in their homes.” Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced health workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings will be required to get a vaccine. But home caregivers are not included in the mandate.. Rick Wood relies on several caregivers to help his developmentally disabled son in Mammoth Lakes. After a recent COVID scare related to one of those workers, Wood asked all of them to get vaccinated. And he offered them a financial bonus to comply. “What happens with people like my son is care providers who come into the home provide intimate care, such as feeding, dressing, bathing and the like. Frankly, from our perspective they are no different from health care workers who are performing similar duties and providing similar services in hospitals and medical facilities.” The state also is requiring teachers and school staff to be fully vaccinated or get regularly tested. Officials have not announced whether similar requirements will be extended to in-home caregivers.SOC. ########## Coming up.... The 4.9 million don't get their choice as governor, but the 1.8 million do. We believe that violates the Constitution, and precept of one person one vote. We'll hear a legal scholar's view on why the recall election could be struck down as unconstitutional. That’s next, just after the break. In about a month from now on September 14th, California will hold a recall election for Governor Gavin Newsom. But some law scholars say the process is not constitutional because voters won’t have an equal say in the election’s outcome. Erwin Chemerinsky is the Dean of UC Berkeley's School of Law. He recently wrote an editorial addressing the recall election in the New York times., and he spoke with Cap Radio’s Randol White about the issue. Here’s that interview... Erwin Chemerinsky is dean at the UC Berkeley School of Law. He was speaking with Cap Radio’s Randol White. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Vista Unified School District’s board meeting got interrupted three times last Thursday when protestors refused to wear masks. The leader of the anti-mask group “Let Them Breathe” was kicked out of the meeting. Meanwhile, a week after the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department released an edited video of a deputy supposedly overdosing on fentanyl…. the unedited body cam video was released, leaving unanswered questions. Plus, scholars from UC Berkeley are questioning the legality of the September recall election in California.