Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

1 Dec 2021

Audio of Durango School Disctrict 9-R board meeting improved & vax mandates tabled

Posted by Adam Howell


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Audio recording quality for a Durango School District 9-R Board of Education meeting on November 30th dramatically improved over its previous meetings. The improvement came after people were having trouble hearing what the board and its guests were saying in previous videos of the meetings.

Photo courtesy of Durango School District 9-R.

For one thing, the Nov. 30th meeting was held in a smaller room with less echo effect. The previous meeting room was large enough for guests, but its tall ceilings gave  an echo to the speaker’s voices. Coupled with the required masks worn by the speakers, the meetings became hard to follow since most of the voices were inaudible; muffled.

Of late, the meetings have only been viewable by the public on a live-streamed video available on the district’s website. The general public was prohibited from attending the meetings after the COVID-19 hysteria began in 2020. At one point they tried reopening the meetings for in person attendance.

After some parents refused to wear masks at their meetings, they decided to only allow the public to attend virtually online, the board said.

In the Nov. 30th meeting the board also discussed how to proceed with future meeting arrangements. It sounded like the board was planning on meeting in the same smaller room in future meetings. Most of the public will be physically kept out of the room, however, each public participant would be allowed to attend in person only while they are speaking.

Audio improves while visual identities of speakers remains anonymous

While the audio quality of the speakers improved at the changed meeting venue, the identities of people at the meeting in person stayed mostly anonymous.

With most of the board sitting in the back of the room and the speakers all wearing masks, it was unclear who was speaking throughout.

Since you couldn’t see their faces or their lips, it was nearly impossible to tell who was speaking.

Vaccine mandate tabled by board members

A proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate that the board put on the agenda at the request of an secret person was tabled by the board.

By “tabled,” I mean that the board decided that mandating COVID-19 vaccines for its students was beyond the purview of the board.

Instead, they said that it would be more fitting for the CDPHE, CDC or health department to take the leak on mandating vaccines.

“At this time it doesn’t seem appropriate or warranted,” said Board Member Rick Petersen.

Board member Andrea Parmenter did not want to discuss the idea of mandating vaccines for the students.

Ultimately, readers are encouraged to read and sign the petition against mandated COVID-19 vaccines for Durango School District 9-R students.

Audio of Vannessa Giddings sounded like misinformation

Director of Student Support Services Vanessa Giddings gave misinformation about the vulnerability of 5 to 11 year olds to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Durango School District 9-R.

Before the board discussed the vaccine mandate proposal, they heard from Director of Student Support Services Vanessa Giddings.

Giddings gave an update on the district’s vaccine and testing programs.

In a recent COVID-19 testing period, two positive asymptomatic students were discovered.

“They were able to be isolated as soon as possible and start their isolation period. In the total three weeks we provided 755 asymptomatic tests,” Giddings said.

Using a seven-day moving average from a couple of weeks ago, Giddings showed the board where the district was at with COVID-19 cases.

“Again, showing that our most vulnerable population has been that 5 to 11 range, because those are our most unvaccinated. So that importance from the Health Department’s standpoint of vaccination as a mitigation factor.” said Giddings.

Giddings’ claim that 5 to 11 year olds are the most vulnerable contradicts the CDC’s Provisional Death data that tells a different story.

For instance, the CDC’s data shows that 5 to 11 year olds are three times LESS likely to die from COVID-19 than students that are 15 to 24 years old.

Then, Giddings failed to mention the importance of nutrition, exercise, sunlight or immune systems in preventing COVID-19 infections.

Update on 12/06/2021 from Durango School District 9-R Board of Education:

“Thank you for reaching out about your view on vaccine mandates. At our November 30th meeting, in response to public input, we discussed board interest in adding the topic of vaccine mandates to a future agenda. The board was in agreement that we are not interested in further discussing or pursuing vaccine mandates for either students or staff at this time.
Thank you,

Durango 9-R Board of Education”

New board members swear oaths to the constitution

Photo courtesy of Durango School District 9-R.

Board members Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter swore oaths to the constitution.

Photo courtesy of Durango School District 9-R.

Where to access meeting minutes of Board of Education

Some of the board’s meeting minutes, and some are still missing.
Here’s where the minutes are typically posted:

Here’s where they’ve failed to be posted for the June 22, 2021 regular board meeting:

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press, accessible public meetings and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.


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