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Letter to the Editor: School Committee candidate’s response disappointing

by | Apr 28, 2022 | Letter to Editor

Like many of you, I have been enthusiastic regarding the upcoming election where we will elect three School Committee members! I have had the utmost respect for our previous group and am very thankful for their dedication and contributions to our community and, ultimately, to my family. I am also thankful to all of the candidates who are running, and putting their blood, sweat and tears into campaigning so that they may also serve the community. Regardless of any politics, I feel it’s an honorable thing to do.

I guess this is why I’m feeling let down and a little deflated after Wednesday night’s Meet the Candidates event put on by the Women’s Club. I, like many, submitted a question to the School Committee group, which was the following: “The return to full-time in-person learning was a huge decision last year for the School Committee, and they decided on a return almost exactly one year ago today in April. If you were serving on the School Committee at that time, how would you have voted? Would you have voted or advocated a full return earlier, same time or later in the school year?” Pretty straightforward, fair, and, I felt, an extremely important question, seeing as the impact it had on the quality of education, mental health, family life, etc. that remote and hybrid learning models had on everyone in the world, never mind for my family. Holly Morand answered that she would have also voted for a full return in April, Jenn Devlin also felt they made the right decision in April, Jared Pray advocated for an earlier return, and Ashley Fogg also said that she was pushing to go back earlier.

On Thursday, Holly updated her answer on her campaign page and said that she would not have voted for a full-time in-person return until certain (stringent) data points were met and events such as students receiving vaccinations (my children were not vaccinated until January 2022 and kindergarteners have yet to receive theirs) and weekly testing being in place. The more troubling part is that she then commented further, stating that discussing past and future votes (another resident asked about future votes) is “futile” … pointless. My question is futile and pointless? It’s hard not to feel pretty let down by this, misled, insulted and then ultimately … dismissed.

— Kristin Dangelo, Hopkinton

Editor’s note: The opinions and comments expressed in letters to the editor are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Independent. Submissions should be no more than 400 words and must include the writer’s name and contact information for verification. Letters should be relevant and not primarily for the purpose of promoting an organization or event. Letters may be edited by the Independent staff for space, errors or clarification, and the Independent offers no guarantee that every letter will be published. For a schedule of deadlines for letters and other submissions for the print edition, click here.

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3 Comments

  1. Diane Picard

    Kristen that was a very VALID question for voters and not pointless as the candidate stated. We “the voters” need to know what their views are AND how they plan to vote in the future.

  2. Beth

    While it’s fine to ask the question, it also is a one likely to provoke additional polarization. Hindsight is 20/20, so unless the person took detailed notes about all the factors in place last spring, it’s not likely to prompt an accurate response. I care much more about what factors a person would take into account when making the decision than asking them to go back in time when so much has changed since then.

  3. Stacia

    The clarification on Holly Morand’s candidate’s page (that the author of this letter is referring to) speaks directly to the appropriateness of Holly running for school committee. She states on her candidate page “…I was answering [the question] as though I would have a voice in the implemented mitigation strategies. I would have called for universal, weekly testing (something like what we have in place now). Research shows that universal testing made all the difference in limiting spread in districts with limited ability to distance.

    If I were to respond to that question knowing I could not influence mitigation strategies, I would say no – I would not have voted for returning to school last April [of 2020]. None of our kiddos were vaccinated, we had limited therapeutics for treatment, we were still learning about kids’ role in spread, and our hospitals were at capacity.”

    I would hope that when acting in the best interests of our children and schools, members of the school committee would take into consideration important data points along with considering the community, health, and health infrastructure impacts during a global pandemic. This only goes to support the point of how important it is to have a qualified candidate like Holly on the School Committee.