Contra Costa County Mother Pulls Child Out of School, Claims District Isn't Keeping Students Safe

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A mother in Contra Costa County says she’s worried about what's going on at her son's school claiming they aren’t doing enough to help keep the kids safe from COVID. 

Back to School Night is scheduled for Tuesday at Liberty High School in Brentwood, where the superintendent said he is confident it’s safe to go back, but Stephanie Gradillas said she’ll skip it. 

“The high school is what I have anxiety about every single day I send him to school,” the mother said. 

Gradillas has younger children too, one with asthma, so she doesn’t want her son in high school to bring home COVID-19.

“Just doesn’t seem safe,” she said. “My son says they’re not washing hands, no hand sanitizing, not wiping the desks down he hasn’t seen anyone doing that.”

The Liberty Union High School District superintendent says the desks are wiped down at the end of the day, following protocol by the California Department of Public Health. 

And he said contact tracing has revealed a lot since the reopening. 

“I would be concerned if I thought classrooms aren’t safe but based upon tracing, classes shown to be safe places, we’re not seeing student to student transmission, teacher to student or student to teacher transmission in the class,” said Eric Volta.

Gradillas also said at Liberty High, students were tested for COVID without a parents’ consent, which she calls unacceptable. 

The superintendent says it’s possible that happened in the beginning, but is confident things will be different moving forward. 

“We are definitely trying to get consent from parents in order to get tested,” Volta said. “We are working on that communication today. They’re going out so we can have conversations, if a student does not consent to testing they have the option to do regular quarantine, home.”

The superintendent says at the reopening of the schools, the focus was on emotional and social support for the students, but they quickly realized the need for more staff to help with testing for COVID and contact tracing. 

He understands families will need to decide what’s best for them and whether to keep their children in school. 

“I do 100% believe they need to be back in school but they’re not doing 100%,” Volta said.

He added that contract tracing shows the majority of the 100 plus cases in the district were contracted at large private gatherings off campus, not at school.

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