Fortuna Union High School District stands with initial vote for in-person instruction

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FORTUNA, Calif. (KIEM) – After a three to two vote to begin the fall semester with in-person learning, teachers asked the Fortuna Union High School District to thoroughly reconsider.

Days of several negotiation meetings occurred between the district and the Fortuna Union High School Teachers Association over the last couple days, leading to an emergency board meeting, open for public comment, Friday evening.

With only one motion to postpone school for two weeks, the Fortuna Union High School District will still begin the school year with in-person classes on Monday.

We spoke to a couple of teachers who say the decision puts too many in danger as Humboldt County’s case count continues to increase.

The initial vote to begin the school year with in-person classes came after a July 28 board meeting. However, the teachers association, or FUHSTA, finds the decision unsafe and asked the board to consider three changes in particular.

Coit says FUHSTA is asking for transparency due to the lack of the district publicly posting Zoom meetings for parents and community members. She also expresses the teachers association’s concern with ensuring the Latinx community has the resources they need as decisions are being made, given recent numbers showing the Latinx community in Humboldt County being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

JoAnn Moore, an ally of FUHSTA and Bargaining Chair for the Northern Humboldt Union High School District says the teachers of FUHSTA deserve training on teaching in these circumstances and students need necessary tools to learn successfully.

Almost 300 parents, teachers and community members attended Friday evening’s virtual meeting. Prior to the board making a final decision, Fortuna High School Principal Clint Duey asked the board to consider two recent teacher leave requests which minimizes the teaching staff with no replacements at this time. However, less than five minutes of discussion occurred before the meeting was adjourned and the board announced the initial vote stands.

We reached out to the FUHSD Superintendent and Board, but did not hear back for comment.