Vaccine policy sparks debate at Chippewa Hills board meeting

REMUS – Parents from Chippewa Hills and some faculty members have expressed their opinion this week on school decisions regarding the implementation of COVID-19 policies, including potential vaccination mandates for staff and guidelines quarantine.

Monday’s meeting, which lasted just over two hours, saw more than 30 people address school board members. One of the items on the board’s agenda included current COVID-19 cases, quarantine updates and potential future terms of reference.

Currently, Chippewa Hills’ masking policy is choice-based and does not require vaccination.

Participants expressed concern largely about the potential of an immunization mandate for staff members, citing issues of discrimination.

Melissa Nelson, secretary at Barryton Elementary, said her concerns were about dividing people based on immunization status.

“The definition of discrimination is the unfair and prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, including on the basis of race, age, sex, and I would add medical choices, in this case non vaccinated, ”Nelson said. “The definition of coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats, both of which have been found to be unconstitutional. Whatever the reasons why someone does not get the vaccine with the so called vaccines, you can’t think some individuals can be discriminated against then.

Nelson then questioned the effectiveness of the vaccine promotion for staff and students.

Cara Thousand, a special education teacher at Barryton Elementary School, said she had started to notice the divide that vaccination statuses were starting to cause.

“My own opinion is that the opinions and beliefs of staff members don’t have the same value as before,” Thousand said. “The most recent demonstration of this with freedom of choice. Last year I started hearing the first negative comments from staff members to other staff about their immunization status. I was relieved when the directors objected to the negative negativity.

“When asked what support we would receive, if we chose not to provide our status or chose not to vaccinate, we were told it was up to us because we were not following the rules,” he said. she adds.

Tom Norton, a Sand Lake resident who is running as a Republican for Michigan’s 3rd District seat, challenged the staff requirement for vaccines.

“When does a warrant end?” Norton asked. “You shouldn’t just sit there and violate someone else’s freedom. No one has the right to tell someone to get the vaccine. No one has the right to tell someone not to get the vaccine. It’s called individual liberty and liberty, and it’s the only oath that matters to anyone.

Suzanne Courser, a former teacher from Chippewa Hills, had a simple message.

“I worked for Chippewa Hills for 26 years,” Courser said. “I had a big, long speech that I was going to give, but I have one sentence that I want to read that stuck with me: we must love our freedom more than we fear a germ.”

Later in the public comment portion of the meeting, Remus’ Betsy Moskowitz attempted to talk about the science of vaccines and how well they work.

Moskowitz, a respiratory therapist for more than 37 years, said his experience working at Sparrow Hospital in Carson City had opened his eyes to the dangers of the virus and the importance of vaccines.

“Unfortunately, this virus is a relative of the common cold, which is why there is no permanent vaccine for it as they mutate over so many weeks or months. My nights at work go from cover to cover. other from the hospital, and Sparrow Hospital said that 80% of our very sick COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated. Natural immunity does not exist, you really need to get vaccinated because it is a wonderful thing. “

After several vocal interruptions, including laughter and screaming following his initial statements from other participants, Moscowitz continued.

“I am speaking in the realm of science and unfortunately we have entered the realm of politics,” she said. “The vaccine is simply a device that delivers a substance so that our bodies can figure out how to make antibodies against this deadly virus. It’s airborne and it’s a vascular disease, which means it will impact the inner lining of your blood vessels, interfere with clotting, blood pressure, and is a global pandemic. “

Virginia Hepner, a resident of Mecosta County, said the district would lose students and educators if they continued with mandate plans.

“I have a four-month-old and an 18-month-old, and I can tell you what you’re going to see is people don’t send their kids to school if that’s the direction they are going. takes your district, ”Hepner said. “When I had COVID-19, I was scared, I respect COVID-19,” she added. “My cousin was fully vaccinated and passed away, he contracted COVID-19 and passed away. So you can vaccinate or choose not to, but if you choose to go all the way, your neighborhood will go downhill. collapse and people will not send their children here.

During the regular business portion of the meeting, the board unanimously approved its amended COVID-19 policy regarding updated quarantine guidelines and will await a decision from the MIOSHA organization, which may impose statewide vaccinations.

The new quarantine guidelines include reducing the time a person has to quarantine and hide themselves. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 should now self-isolate for five days and if they are asymptomatic or if their symptoms resolve (without fever for 24 hours), followed by five days of wearing a face mask. other people to minimize the risk of infecting those they meet.

The change is driven by science showing that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the illness, typically one to two days before symptoms appear and two to three days after.


Also at Monday’s meeting, some attendees expressed concerns with the new logos for the Chippewa Hills School District, which feature a Gold Knight.

In November, board members discussed four potential logo design mockups presented by the ad hoc committee created to moderate the new logo options presented to them. The design of the new logo featured guidelines that included non-sexist, unarmed art, and incorporated the school’s original colors.

Ultimately, on January 5, the board announced that it had made a final decision and released the new logo imagery, which features a knight in a gold, red, and blue outfit prominently on the main logo. It features several variations of the shield and knight emblems, ranging from simpler lettering to intricate detailed art on the shields.

Linda Howard, a resident of Morton Township, said she is challenging the decision to include a knight in the renderings.

“The Knights come from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages of England and France,” Howard said. “… So they have absolutely no connection with the United States or Michigan or that region.” I would like to conclude by saying that this logo looks like a video game caricature, and it has no place and I hope people will express themselves on this subject.

Linda Richardson, a Chippewa Hills alumnus, said she was unhappy with the new logo designs.

“It has nothing to do with a child, as someone commented. The artwork itself is nice, ”said Richardson. “But she doesn’t represent Chippewa Hills. So now you are taking away our American heritage. Not only that, but you took the pride of Chippewa Hills away from us as well.

“… You didn’t ask the taxpayers, and you didn’t ask the elders. It doesn’t seem right,” she added.

The council is scheduled to meet on February 14 at 6 p.m. at the high school media center.

About Timothy Cheatham

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