Fresno County Board of Supervisors allowing 'local control' to districts on in-person learning

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With a unanimous vote, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors removed itself from the decision-making process regarding schools, including how to return to in-person instruction.

Board Chairman Steve Brandau and Supervisor Buddy Mendez co-sponsored this resolution.

Brandau says this all stemmed from last Fall when students were going back to school.

He says the county supervisors were "dragged" into a situation they felt was out of their jurisdiction.

"Fresno County got drug into some conversations that we felt we were very clear on, but parents in Fresno County and board trustees at local school districts felt like we muddied the water inadvertently," Brandau said.

This vote comes just one day after Clovis Unified School District revised their mask exemption guidelines to reflect California Department of Public Health's K-12 updated guidance.

RELATED: After criticism, Clovis Unified to follow state guidelines, require doctor's note for mask exemption

Fresno County has 32 different school districts, from small districts like Big Creek School District to bigger ones like Fresno Unified School District.

Brandau says the board of supervisors wants each of those school boards to be able to set their own policies.

But beyond that, he says the local districts need to continue to follow the rules and the guidelines set by the state of California.

For Supervisor Brian Pacheco, Tuesday's vote was about clarification.

"If they want to listen to science, that's their business," he said. "If they want to turn a deaf ear to that their business, that's not for us to impose our will on those individual districts."

In response, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino says, "Over the last year and during the height of the pandemic, more than 130,000 Fresno County students were in their seats in school, receiving safe and responsible instruction. These successes are a result of district superintendents, their staff, parents and their governing boards working closely in partnership with the Fresno County Department of Public Health to follow all federal, state and local guidelines."
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