Fortuna High School

During a special meeting tonight, the Fortuna Union High School District Board of Trustees will reconsider its controversial decision to reopen schools for in-person instruction on Monday.

After an open public comment period and a closed session, the board will resume an open session to discuss “consideration and possible action regarding change in instructional calendar,” according to the meeting agenda.

The meeting follows two days of hours-long negotiations between the district’s administration and the Fortuna Union High School Teachers Association (FUHSTA), which opposes the reopening plan and demands that the board move to 100 percent distance learning and push the reopening date back to August 24.

“Considering how contentious this whole situation is, it was very civil,” FUHSTA President Imna Thompson told the Outpost this morning about the meetings with the administration. “I do think we came up with a fair proposal.”

Thompson seemed optimistic that the board will change its decision, adding that she feels the schools and teachers are not prepared to reopen in just three days. Thompson said that safety measures that were supposed to be in place — such as spacing desks six feet apart and installing Plexiglass shields for the teachers — have not been implemented. 

Reached by the Outpost today, FUHSD Board President Charles Ellebrecht insisted that the FUHSTA negotiations had “no factor” in his decision to call this special meeting and that the district has other concerns about the impending reopening date, including the status of Assembly Bill 1384 — a proposed bill that would limit school’s liability related to COVID-19.

Ellebrecht said that Superintendent Glen Senestraro will brief the board on the negotiations during tonight’s meeting and that “we’ll have a great opportunity to hear where we’re at and hear people’s thoughts before we make an informed decision.”

The Fortuna Union High School District Board of Trustee’s will meet via Zoom tonight at 5 p.m.

To attend, follow the Zoom link on the FUHSD website.