tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC August 3, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions, this is abc7 news. >> good afternoon, everybody. i'm kristen sze and you're watching "getting answers" live on abc7, hulu live and wherever you stream. we're asking experts your questions everyday at 3:00 to get answers for you in realtime. today by have an update from a special guest, meteorologist in philadelphia, adam joseph. his kids caught covid after an unvaccinated person came to stay with him. turns out adam got infected as well. first, kids are going back to school in person all this month just as the delta variant is driveing up a new surge.
72,000 new infections in kids were reported in the u.s. last week. that's almost double from the week before. now the situation is less alarming here in the bay area because vaccination rates are high. still, we've had local outbreaks. in the brentwood union school district, 13 elementary school students were infected and 55 others had to quarantine as a result so. naturally parents have questions and concerns about returning to school shavely. so, joining to us talk about this important topic california school superintendent tony thurman. tony, so great to see you. i wanted to give you the summer off but i love the conversations. >> thank you. >> i know it was a working summer for you to make sure things were set for the school year. if you have questions for superintendent thurman ask on facebook live. i want to start with masks.
california is requiring that students wear masks at school. does this apply to all grade levels? >> it does. it's for all students and for all adults in any school regardless of vaccine status, everybody by order of the california department of public health should be wearing a mask. obviously, there are exceptions for health reasons. when students are outside, they don't have to wear a mask. otherwise, everybody inside the building should be wearing a mask, according to the department of health. >> okay. how about athletics, when they engage in athletics? >> again, guidance is changing as we speak but as just now getting open there are opportunityies for students to
be outdoors with masks. what most districts are doing is requiring them to take a rapid covid test, in some cases twice a week. that way that student can be safe away from the team and the team can continue while that student athlete quarantines. >> so the state laid down the rules but the government is leaving it up to local school districts to enforce it. some like cloveous are are are r not and they're letting parents choose. are you concern b. uneven. >> the county health officials have a legal responsibility and a legal authority to enforce it. so it remains to be seen what's
going to happen. for me, kristen, this is force m i seement. this is a conversation about saveing lifeves. we've seen those who have died are those who have not not not vaccine f. many of our kids could be at risk. the way we keep them safe having everyone wear a mask at school. if you can get a vaccine, get a vaccine to keep us all safe. >> despite us seeing that in the science and numbers, we are also seeing huge battles like look at what happened at a san ramon school meeting. it ended with parents walking out after making their feelings
known. >> when we say allegiance. >> we're leaving. >> the united states of america. >> put on a mask. >> no. you can't do that. >> superintendent sure you're sad toker that. that how worryied are you about these relationships becoming toxic? >> i'm very worried it. we can disagree but don't have to be disagreeable. our children are
i understand those are tense moments. i respect that. that's why we live in a democracy. we have to respect rights. right now leaders are trying to find ways to keep the students safe and to save lives. all i would ask if you don't agree, carry yourself with civility and remember, everything we do, our are watching us and learning. so the end of the day we spect yes one's choices but understand the school leaders are trying to keep their students and familyies safe. >> let's talk about other mitigation measures. what have you pushed at all the schools. i know you visited a lot to
make sure they're maximizing safety. >> i've been grateful to visit schools in almost every part of the state. every week i'm at a school. we've got three schools, two in the bay area. we have two great serveing deaf students in fremont and -- excuse me and blind students and riverside. we are investing in many mitigation strategyies like the rapid covid test. they are free to our schools. a lot of our schools are outdoor education and outdoor classroom. with our moderate climate, it means, again, being outside is a great mitigation. of course, the states had made millions, if not
looking at things like ventilation, ppe, hand sanitizer. >> definitely. one more reason to be happy we're in california, right, with the nice weather, we can be outside doors a lot longer. we have a viewer, giovanni, talking about testing. giovanni wants to know why don't we have testing at at at school sites. lm unified will requireed it. why can't that be made mandatory at all schools? >> it's just a reminder we have 1,000 schools. each one makes local rules and decision. that is a decision being made by each of the local school districts, but the state department of public health has made a mandate that everyone should be wearing a mask and has recommended that there be
covid testing. the interval, the amount is a matter that's ultimately subject to decision making by the local school board. >> i see. so the school board has the choice but you support it and said the money is there, correct? >> the money is there. i encourage you. to be honest with you, kristen, i don't know how we can make it without covid testing. we need covid testing at least once a week. the reason i say this, students under the age of 127 cannot get a vaccine. the public health experts warn that those who are not vaccinated, that the strength of this new variant is to powerful that anyone unvaccinated is likely to get covid. so, yes, i think there needs to be weekly testing at every
school to give us awareness so people can quarantine safe live and so we can keep our schools open. i love that our schools are open. i love that our restaurants are open. i love that we can spend time with loved ones but if not taking care of vaccines, are at risk. >> eric, our viewer wants to know will there hopefully be a vaccine mandate. right now they can't get it but come september is when we expect the green 11-year-olds. tdap, mmr, all those things we require at school. >> in order to have a vaccine
mandate, there needs to be new legislation passed. i'm not aware any is passed in the country but its had raiseed the question whether there's a ned for a vaccine mandate. our legislature is currently on recess until a couple weeks. they will be meeting from mid- august through the end of september and they may take up the conversation about vaccine mandate. get vaccinated. it's mart part of going back to school and keeping everyone safe. >> when we come back, we want to talk to the superintendent about a huge piece of news. that is,
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and we are back with superintendent of public instruction, tony thurmond. am i right that students of all ages will be offered free lunch at school, no matter their income? >> yes, very proud of our new laws that provide what we call universal meals. everyone can get a meal. you don't have to deal with paperwork, no more questions. i have this give a shoutout to a colleague and friend, skinner, who champion this legislation. it found its way into the state budget. this is a proud moment. of course, the governor signed it into legislation, what i call priority legislation. i was proud to be up with of the sponsors of it.
it means any student in our state can get a people and the paperwork and red tape can be put out of the way. in the pandemic our schools have provided more than 500 million meals to our kids. we know there are a lot of people without jobs, without homes, lost their loved ones. so a great shoutout to the advocates who worked on this issue with us to make this happen. >> well, i know the impetus, in part, was to remove a stigma having to get a free lunch. certainly, for all working parents to have this as a universal -- i don't want to call it a perk -- but recognizing that nutrition is very much tied to learning. is it free breakfast and snacks, too, just asking for parents and myself.
>> now not every school offers breakfast. there are tricky rules at the federal level that makes it hard to get reimburseed, but the whole purpose was to make sure there would be a school for schools to get more funding so they could have the breakfast program. i've did the to shoutout to jessica on the staff of skinner. you talk about stigma. as a student, i was on the lunch ticket. we had an orange ticket and kids would get teased. regardless of paper work, anyone can get a meal. we've got hungry kids comeing to school. >> all right, superintendent. we have about three more minutes and lot of questions. is it true since teachers are
state employees, they will have to be vaccinateed. >> they are employed by their district. there's no mandate that says teachers have to get a vaccine. those who work for the state and managed by the state are state employees. there's no mandate for them. the mandate is they must show a proof of a vaccine or must agree to participate in covid testing. that's the requirement for state employees, includeing anyone who's a teacher at a state-run school like our. we have three state one schools. >> for kids who don't feel comfortable going back in person, i know most people feel exciteed about going back maybe you're from someone with high transmission raids or someone who's immunocompromised. what are the options? >> well, i think those
familyies should have a conversation about useing independent study. we're monitoring. the data that we have still says it's okay and safe to open the schools for personal instruction as long as everyone is wearing a mask and we're doing testing >> it's administered usually through an outside vendor. as a parent i would be concerned if my child is getting the same curriculum or quality of education. >> in many cases districts partner with outside schools that run independent study but districts can be deeply involveed in how that happens. independent study is just a way to provide some remote learning now with make sure there's safety measures in place so students don't get hurt, that they have access to a computer, that they get live instru
that they're not disconnected. so that's all we mean when we w talk about pip study independent study. the law has been refreshed for students to learn independently when there's a need for that i'm seeing a lot of conversations. look, independent study is a joke. not sure why they can't offer hybrid zoom since they offered it last year. i know teachers are no longer able to teach on zoom because they're teaching in school, but that time that you're with other people and just learning alen by yourself is not same. >> i agree. i just want to be clear, the way the law has been refreshed, students will not be
alone. historically there have been some challenges for independent study. not all. some have thriveed. historically, there have been some. our students will not be alreadying alone. it is a requirement ron just instruction. so the law allows for students to have a remote option where it's needed but it also has a lot of guardrails. they should be getting the same quality level of instruction that their peers are getting in- person in the classroom. >> real quickly, any new announcements or actions that we should be aware of? >> as this variant continues to escalate, our office is engageed in a number of vaccine outreach efforts. 99% of those who have been
seriously hurt or even killed by the new variant are those who were without a vaccine. just know there will be a lot of vaccine outreach. we hope you will come get a $100 difficulty card and do what you can to keep everybody safe. >> superintendent tony thurmond so great to talk to yo coming up a meteorologist who got vaccinated
spread it to adam and his kids. he tested negative first. then we'll let adam talk about it. joining us today amidst his busy workday, adam, happy to have you back our viewers were rooting for you. >> kristen, good to see you, good to be back into the element of the world, back into the world. after three plus weeks of being in our house with four different covid positive cases, i'm glad to say everyone at this point is healthy, well, emotionally scared but a lot of lessons learned. >> the last time we talked to you, you weren't sure. you had the pink eye. after that you developed more sim tons symptoms. >> i chatted with you and that was the only time i went back on the air.
i had the pink eye. we were catting about it. that was the test. i tested negative with the rapid test. lateer i had a pcr test. two days lateer that came back positive. so i did have a false negative with the symptoms and the shame thing with the family relative who was unvaccinated. that negative was also false. these rapid tests, they are not all accurate and you really should get the pcr test. it's more accurate. after the pitching eye, my nasal cavity opened up. i got a headache that night also i woke up itching like crazy on my torso, my chest, under my arm. >> we're looking at the pictures, the rashes. >> that tooken a shingles
of effect, poison ivy. very uncomfortable, itchy. i had a rapid test taken before the pcr came back. my rapid claim back positive after the rash came out. the pcr test came back two hours lateer from sunday. two days prior to it came back negative when i had the negative positive case. >> and your husband. >> as of today he is still negative. we had the same pfizer type bad. he's o type blood. i'm a blood. he's still negative. yes, my two kids, my relative who came in and stayed with us and then myself. my symptoms rose 13 days after covid entered the home. so it took that long for me to go positive. >> oh my gosh.
today we stalked to superintendent tony thurmond and caught up with tonight, the new scathing report on new york governor andrew cuomo. the governor defiant, saying the facts are much different than what's been portrayed. investigators finding cuomo sexually harassed multiple women. the president just moments ago calling on him to resign. the new york attorney general outlining the report in blistering detail, saying the governor created a hostile work environment ripe with fear and intimidation. nearly a dozen women coming forward, including a state trooper on his security detail. the attorney general saying the governor violated state and federal laws but not announcing any charges. so, what's next? abc news chief legal analyst dan abrams in studio tonight. new, unprecedented covid protocols and response to the