A California school district is facing blowback after sending parents an email asking them to send their children to school with warm and weatherproof outerwear because kids were going to be forced to eat outside, despite inclement weather.
"Rain is forecasted this week which will present an added challenge to our lunch routines," Patwin Elementary School Principal Gay Bourguignon told parents. "DJUSD [Davis Joint Unified School District] students are required to eat outside at this time due to COVID restrictions. I am asking you to send your children to school with rain gear and warm jackets."
Parents wondered if perhaps “cruelty” to children “is the point.”
“Due to Covid for some reason, we are forcing your children to eat outside in the rain”@DJUSD this is completely unacceptable. Maybe the cruelty is the point -@sacbee_news @sawsan24 @alldenews @sarahbeth345 pic.twitter.com/7INHTLudsU— KC-10 Driver (@MCCCANM) October 19, 2021
Republican California state legislator Kevin Kiley agreed, writing on Twitter, "Cruelty to children has been normalized in California."
A school district in Davis is forcing students to eat lunch outside in the rain to keep them "safe." Cruelty to children has been normalized in California.— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) October 19, 2021
Fortunately, the school walked back its plan to force kids to eat in the rain.
Update: the district has reversed course, and will now allow children to eat inside during inclement weather. Thank you all!— KC-10 Driver (@MCCCANM) October 19, 2021
"Some parents are very happy with our decision to have students eat outside and others are concerned," Bourguignon wrote in a follow-up email to parents, reports Fox News. "Our campus is not ideal for eating outside due to the lack of a solid walkway cover. In collaboration with our District staff, we looked at all of the alternatives. If during lunchtime, we have a heavy downpour of rain it will be challenging to eat under the covered walkways."
"During a heavy downpour, we will have a staggered lunch with one grade level at a time in our MPR for 15 minutes with all 10 doors open and 2 air purifiers running. After 15 minutes, students will be dismissed to their classrooms for inside recess," the note added. "If you prefer that your child remains outside to eat please inform your teacher and we will make accommodations to support your request."
Reopen California Schools still criticized the update.
A school at @DJUSD tells parents kids must eat lunch in the rain due to COVID. After an outcry, they will now let kids eat a 15-minute lunch indoors if there is 'a heavy downpour' but they must ‘eat quickly.’— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) October 20, 2021
We are treating our kids like animals.https://t.co/zw63TSyQ5w
Meanwhile in Sonoma County, one school wants kids to chew their food with masks on.
This Sonoma county school is now asking kids to eat with their masks on.— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) October 20, 2021
Rain is forecasted for the next seven days in Northern California and schools are coming up with idiotic & abusive policies to deal with it and still comply with CDPH school guidance. pic.twitter.com/o3RoqplWZf