Orange County Votes to Reopen Schools; Democrats Criticize; Schools Uncertain

Orange County flag (Orange County Archives / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Orange County Archives / Flickr / CC / Cropped

Controversy is raging in Orange County, California, after the county’s school board voted overwhelmingly this week to reopen schools — but the county’s Democratic congressional delegation criticized the decision, and schools were uncertain.

The Orange County Register reported:

The Orange County Board of Education, a five-member body with little power, on Monday voted 4-1 to issue a document saying students should return to traditional classrooms, without masks, when local schools resume next month.

A day later, that symbolic vote – which urges a plan that, if implemented, could run counter to federal and state health guidelines – drew national media attention and a letter of rebuke from the county’s congressional delegation.

“We are deeply concerned by the Board’s decision to not address the health threats that COVID-19 poses to our community with its recommendations to reopen schools without the use of face masks, social distancing or reduced class sizes,” wrote House members Linda T. Sanchez, Harley Rouda, Katie Porter, Alan Lowenthal, Gilbert Cisneros, Lou Correa and Mike Levin, all Democrats.

The ultimate decisions on reopening will be made by individual school districts. Parents tend to favor reopening, while teachers’ unions are opposed.

President Donald Trump has encouraged school districts to reopen, and pediatricians have also recommended reopening, saying that the threat of coronavirus to children is small.

Orange County, a stretch of suburbs and beach communities south of Los Angeles,  has traditionally been one of the more conservative areas of California. But in 2016, a majority of voters in the county chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, and in 2018 Democrats swept the area’s congressional seats, thanks to long-term demographic and cultural changes.

Still, Orange County has remained a center for conservative protest against liberal policies, including the state’s “sanctuary” policies on illegal immigration, and statewide coronavirus lockdowns.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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