San Diego Unified mother says mask mandates are harmful to special education students

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Monday on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego, San Diego Unified School District Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne made a shocking comment regarding students concerned about their new mask mandate.

We know for a fact that young, healthy children have essentially zero risk to the coronavirus. But over two years since the pandemic began, and the teachers unions still seem to have power over those leading our school district.

Both Richard Barrera and Whitehurst-Payne used California’s arbitrary color-coded tier system as justification for re-implementing an indoor mask mandate. But they conveniently left out the many studies that found the negative consequences of mask mandates to be much more concerning. Learning loss for young students in their social maturity and speech skills can be directly attributed to the mask mandates.

Nevertheless, SDUSD Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne is standing behind the mask mandate, without regard for the negative consequence. Monday, she told KUSI’s Logan Byrnes that students who are uncomfortable with the mask mandate should simply not return to class. That comment has made her the target of criticism from across the world, as the interview has attracted over 600,000 views on Twitter alone.

So in adherence to Whitehurst-Payne’s advice, some San Diego Unified students are now staying home and missing school.

Danielle Oliva, kept her fifth grade son home Wednesday because he has an IEP, and is enrolled in San Diego Unified’s special education program. Danielle’s son is in the summer program because he was getting extra support in certain academic areas.

Oliva joined KUSI’s Logan Byrnes on Good Evening San Diego to respond to Whitehurst-Payne’s shocking comments, and explain why other parents like her are so furious to hear this from San Diego Unified’s Board President.

Oliva explained special education students like her son have a hard time concentrating and need to be in a structured environment to learn, not at home participating in class via Zoom. She continued to say she was “offended” by Whitehurst-Payne’s comments, especially since she lives in her district.

RELATED STORY: Former Teacher of the Year Manuel Aceves: Mask mandates caused catastrophic learning loss

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News, Politics