As of Monday, Sept. 20, Idyllwild School had nine students with active COVID-19 cases and four staff members of a total school population of 307, for one of the highest percentages of coronavirus at 4% in the Hemet Unified School District.
The other high percentage at 3.5% was Hamilton High School in Anza at 16 students with active COVID-19 cases in a total population of 451.
Out of 29 schools and offices within HUSD, the other 27 showed cases at 1% or less.
Nevertheless, at the HUSD Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14, at Idyllwild School, those speaking out against the district’s mask mandates outnumbered people speaking out in favor of more mandates.
Most of the opposing speakers traveled to the mountain from off the Hill where their students are enrolled. Two of the speakers, Dr. Charles Schelly and Scott Winter, are local residents. Schelly’s children no longer attend Idyllwild School but his wife, Leslie, works in the school’s office.
Schelly, a chiropractor and Idyllwild Water District board president, said he knows the board wants to do what’s best for the children. “And if we look at all the data,” he said, “what’s best for the kids is having them in school. When kids aren’t in school and we have chronic absenteeism, kids fall behind … I will put my mask back on, even though with the education that I have, I know how effective this is. I know that the huge gaps on the sides and the huge gaps along the nose … they barely prevent Cheetos from getting into your body and I love Cheetos.
“So, as a board, please make your recommendations based on what’s commonsense and what’s best for the children.”
Winter, a social studies teacher and cross-country coach at a school in the desert, who has a child at Idyllwild School, said, “I’m sick and tired, like everybody else, of wearing a mask and I would love to take this off … There are recommendations and guidelines by the CDC; it is backed by science which is real … Science also indicates that once we are vaccinated, our immunity will start to combat against the different variants of COVID. And so, once things are in place, we will start to defeat COVID. “When kids come to school, they are expected to have [other kinds of] vaccines [to be] ready for school, too, and there are exceptions, too, of course … But I’m not hearing many people questioning getting shots for school. I’m not sure why this is any different.”
Deputy Superintendent Darrin Watters gave the COVID update report noting that two employees had lost their battle with COVID and four employees currently are in the hospital with COVID.
He said HUSD’s August 2021 COVID cases surpassed 2020 numbers. The highest employee cases prior to August occurred in December 2020 with 300 cases and January 2021 with 344 cases. August employee cases numbered 665.