School Board Meeting Discuss COVID Protocols, Procedures For Over Night Field Trips

Three-hour meeting covers numerous topics including the Superintendent's Environmental Action Committee update.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

In the most recent Burbank School Board meeting at City Hall that consumed slightly more than three hours, several topics were discussed and two included a Report on COVID Protocols and Procedures For Overnight Field Trips and the Superintendent’s Environmental Action Committee Update.

When COVID-19 made its debut to the world in March 2020, panic and sadness set in and a foreboding was evident.

This unique virus hit everything in its way, including sports, businesses, and of course, schools.

It seemed as though the world’s population was in a fight that it couldn’t win, but with time and brilliant minds working from every corner of the globe, a vaccine was found. And with that, the sun shined and over time, there was a sense of normalcy.

Dr. Matt Hill was introduced but spoke briefly while President Charlene Tabet kicked off the discussion.

Dr. Emily Weisberg was next and said that COVID-19 cases are rising slightly and that there are roughly 1,300 new cases reported, and it may soon be that masks will once again be mandatory.

Weisberg added that she wants to acknowledge the overall importance of making real the effects of the virus because “little things are big and big things are huge.”

Tabet said the school district mandates that all employees be vaccinated and that she is in favor of being vaccinated.

Weisberg said she knows the importance of being vaccinated because it helps reduce the severity of the virus.

Board member Steve Frintner spoke and said being vaccinated means it reduces the chances of being infected and also lowers how sick you will get.

“We made difficult choices last year. We got a little bit comfortable. People weren’t wearing masks,” he said.

Frintner also said Los Angeles County may go back to people wearing masks indoors.

“An overnight field event turned into something of a spreader event,” he said. “We cannot go backwards. I don’t feel it’s an appropriate time to go backwards.”

Board member Steve Ferguson also spoke and acknowledged that the topic of vaccination is deeply divisive, but it’s important to be vaccinated.

“Vaccines are useful in combating this pandemic,” he said. “It’s hard to step back.”

The Board stayed with its policy and no changes were made.

With regard to the SEAC update, it asked whether the Burbank Unified School District can be a Green School District.

If the answer is yes, there are obvious benefits and they include leading the climate change crisis.

It would also improve the student’s holistic health, build a resilient landscape, educate and improve environmental literacy, expand green and outdoor learning spaces, decarbonize, reduce urban heat output, improve BUSD’s environmental health, help the systems design a circular economy and engage in STEM education.

There are three pillars in the BUSD Green School District model.

Pillar One: It will reduce environmental impacts, such as waste, water, energy, greenhouse gases, transportation, encompassing the areas of school facilities, grounds and operations.

Pillar Two: It will improve health and wellness by promoting a healthy physical environment including aspects such as air quality, contaminant control, moisture control, daylighting, pest management, acoustical and thermal comfort and student and staff wellness practices such as health, school food and outdoor physical activity.

Pillar Three: It will offer effective environmental and sustainability education, including civic learning, green careers and STEM connections.

There will be areas of growth and opportunity with a Green School District, and they are:

1) Air Quality: It will improve the student’s physical, mental, and socio-emotional health.

2) Water Capture: It will benefit and create a more conducive learning environment leading to better performance rates.

3) Renewable Energy: It will create a more conducive learning environment leading to better stewards and leaders for their planet.

4) Waste Reduction: Being a leader in the greater community to decarbonize GHG.

5) STEM Education: Be resource positive.

6) Green Infrastructure: Create a resilient ecosystem.

7) Diverse Green Spaces: Creates a value system based on a responsible circular economy. 

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