A school district superintendent whose Facebook profile picture is Beavis from Beavis and Butthead told Fox News host Laura Ingraham last Friday evening that “[a]s far as I know, I will be the only school district in the state who will be reopening their school next week for the last week of school.”
David Thoming is the superintendent for the New Jerusalem School District, which sits between where the 580 merges into the 5 south of Tracy to the West and the bend in the San Joauqin River to the North-East. The district is composed of 16 charter schools–11 of which the district operates directly.
“I am a very conservative person and we operate several charter schools,” Thoming added in his post. “Thought maybe it was newsworthy.”
San Joaquin County got approval Thursday to move through Stage 2 of California’s quarantine measures. According to the state’s “Resilience Roadmap” this means “retail, related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care, and essential businesses can open with modifications.”
LCRW is unaware of any other school districts in the state opening for the last week of the semester at this time.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said last week that schools won’t reopen all at once across the state and it would be up to districts to do so on their own terms. New Jerusalem said they intend to reopen for the Fall in August. Thurmond said that plans for statewide school reopenings would come “in the next few weeks.”
On Friday, the Facebook page for the New Jerusalem Elementary Charter School, one of the district’s schools, posted that they were opening back up for the last week of classes starting Tuesday the 26th.
“We believe having one last opportunity to come to campus will provide important closure for our students as we head into summer break,” Thoming wrote.
The district also announced “Drive-In Graduations” for Kindergartners and 8th-graders on Thursday.
The announcement also outlined social distancing measures the district says it’s taking, such as having students from a few grades show up on one day in the week so only a quarter of the school population is present at a time, “deep cleaning the campus at the end of each day” and “providing masks to those who request one.”
Thoming said in the announcement that parents are asked to “check [their] child’s temperature before bringing them to campus.”
Laura Ingraham, like many at Fox News and right wing media in general, consistently downplayed the novel Coronavirus and claimed it was overblown by the Democrats in order to attack President Trump. Ingraham herself claimed the same earlier this month, saying that Democrats were spreading “panic porn.” She also boosted Trump’s baseless claim that hydroxycholoquine was a prophylactic against the virus.
COVID19 deaths in California spiked in the middle of last week with a high of 106 new deaths on the 20th. The total U.S. death toll is set to reach 100 thousand this week. As of this writing, the U.S. has more COVID19 deaths than any other country in the world–almost three times as many as the next country.
Thoming himself took to Facebook earlier this month, blaming the lockdown a potential loss of “hundreds of thousands” of “jobs that won’t return for years.”
“Was it worth it?” he asked at the end of the post. New data suggests that over 35 thousand deaths could have been prevented if lockdown measures were implemented sooner.
Thoming’s wife, Traci M. Serpa-Thoming, who appears from her social media to be active in local school politics, had an even more dismissive attitude towards the lockdown, taking to Facebook to mock people wearing masks.
One meme Serpa-Thoming posted showed Leonardo DiCaprio walking and smiling. The Caption read “Me wearing no mask and going the wrong way down every aisle in WalMart.”
“Yup, I’m THAT asshole,” she wrote above the meme.