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Parents furious after elementary school says to send kids in ‘warm jackets’ and ‘rain gear’ for COVID-mandated outdoor eating, forcing school to reverse course

Photo by Chris Furlong/Getty Images

California parents were seething after Patwin Elementary School officials emailed a notice advising parents to dress their children in "warm jackets" and "rain gear" for an upcoming school week that saw cold and rainy temperatures.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all children are made to eat their lunches outdoors. Public outcry forced the school to change course on what many parents said was an absurd idea.

What are the details?

Patwin Elementary School Principal Gay Bourguignon sent the concerning message this week, which said, "Rain is forecasted this week which will present an added challenge to our lunch routines. [Davis Joint Unified School District] students are required to eat outside at this time due to COVID restrictions. I am asking you to send your children to school with rain gear and warm jackets."

Reopen California Schools founder Jonathan Zachreson told Fox News that the message spurred a bevy of complaints directed at the administrators and school board.

"This exemplifies California's response with kids during the pandemic," Zachreson stated. "The inhumane treatment of children continues from masking all day, even outdoors, to having to sit on hot cement and now eating lunch in the rain."

Kevin Kiley, a Republican California state legislator, agreed with Zachreson and the other parents and tweeted, "Cruelty to children has been normalized in California."

The outlet reported that one parent said that the extreme mitigation tactics were unsurprising "given the state of COVID fear in Davis itself."

Another parent added that the rule — as well as the fact that the district requires students to wear masks even during outdoor recess — is "ridiculous and overkill."

What happened then?

Following the outcry, the district released a message to concerned parents that students would be permitted to eat indoors "whenever possible," and pointed to the "unique challenges" of mitigating the risks of COVID-19 as they pertain to indoor eating at area schools.

The message, according to reports, was not enough — and further outcry prompted the principal to issue yet another message "reversing course," Fox reported.

"Some parents are very happy with our decision to have students eat outside and others are concerned," Bourguignon wrote in the message. "Our campus is not ideal for eating outside due to the lack of a solid walkway cover. In collaboration with our District staff, we looked at all of the alternatives. If during lunchtime, we have a heavy downpour of rain it will be challenging to eat under the covered walkways. "

"During a heavy downpour, we will have a staggered lunch with one grade level at a time in our MPR for 15 minutes with all 10 doors open and 2 air purifiers running," the message continued. "After 15 minutes, students will be dismissed to their classrooms for inside recess. If you prefer that your child remains outside to eat please inform your teacher and we will make accommodations to support your request."

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