Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A Sixth Open Letter to the School District

Dear folks in charge of the decision making down at the School District,

As a reminder, we are on school day 292 of our 14-day quarantine to flatten the COVID curve, and I wanted to write again to let you know that apparently, all trust has been lost between us. Which is weird, because our relationship is predicated on me trusting you to educate my children, so I would have thought there would be an equal reciprocal trust on your end toward me, but I guess not.

I received an email last night from one of the high school coaches, relaying a message he had received from the Athletic Director. Since spring has sprung here in California, allergy season is ramping up quickly.

Here’s the note from the AD:

With allergy season upon us, if your athletes have a runny nose/red eyes/etc. they will be sent home from school and quarantined if nothing is in their file regarding allergies. I would encourage them to have their parents call the school nurse and get their allergies logged into their health profile.

Now, I realize that common sense is a 2019 thing, so I won’t take up any of your time with my thoughts on the insanity of quarantining a kid whose only symptom is itchy eyes and is standing there telling you they have allergies.

I discovered our trust had evaporated when I followed the AD’s advice this morning and phoned the school to update Son Number One’s health profile because he does, in fact, have allergies.

I was told that there was no possible way they could update his health profile based on my word alone, and they would need a note from the doctor to confirm that he really, truly does have seasonal allergies.


We here at the house have been providing his direct and total care since he first saw the light of day. That has been sixteen years, now. I can assure you we are not pumping him full of Zyrtec and Flonase because we love spending the money on it.

I’m not 100% sure why you think I should trust you implicitly with the education of my children if you are unwilling to trust me as a parent on the simple fact that pollen really irritates my oldest son’s nasal passages. That seems “fairly academic,” to put it in school terms.

Since we give him what we out here in the real world call “over-the-counter” medication for his seasonal allergies that did not need official medical diagnosis here in the central valley of California, where seasonal allergies were invented, I can’t provide a doctor’s note in this instance.

Being as such, I thought I’d take this opportunity to alert you of some other possible non-officially-diagnosed situations that might arise with my boys while they are at school.

Son Number One swims and plays water polo, so occasionally in the pool he will cough. The non-official term for this is “choking on a bunch of water.” This is not COVID related.

Son Number Two plays lacrosse on a turf field. When he falls on that field while running, he can get what we call “turf burns” on his knees, elbows, etc. These rashes will be red and angry looking, but rest assured they are harmless and non-communicable.

All three of my sons tend to sneeze when exposed to clouds of dust or pepper. This reaction is a natural bodily function, I’ve been told, so no need for alarm or any quarantining in those situations.

Son Number Three also plays lacrosse, but in a hilarious turn of events, does not enjoy running. He is also quite dramatic, as seventh graders can be, so after a practice, game, or workout, he tends to fake limp around to let you know how much effort he gave and that it is almost killing him. This limp, real or for show, is not a sign of muscle cramping due to COVID or any other current pandemic disease we are employing to keep kids out of your hair.

All three of my boys will occasionally become very thirsty. This is because they are teenagers who forget to drink water regularly, not a sign of illness-born dehydration. You can just point them toward the nearest drinking fountain that you have shut off because drinking fountains don’t spread diseases, but better safe than sorry.

Speaking of thirst, it’s about to get hot again here in the Golden State. Since my boys play sports and compete outside, they do tend to warm up a tad when the mercury starts rising. I know you are all armed with handy touchless thermometers, but be aware they might register a little on the warm side when out in the blazing sun. Remember, 98.7 is not cause for quarantining. In fact, if they are below 103, please send then for another lap.

Lastly, with regard to my last letter to you folks, you have been handing out some pretty questionable “food” in your free grab-n-go lunches. (And by “free,” I obviously mean they will be paid for by my grandchildren’s grandchildren, at this point.) Please be aware that as teenage boys, my sons will eat anything you hand them. Due to their teenage metabolism, they are in a perpetual state of near-starvation no matter how much food we give them, so please don’t take their willingness to eat the highly processed, should-be-illegal-in-schools crap you are handing them as a sign of any lost sense of smell or taste. They are just boys.

I hope that we can someday build back the trust that we’ve lost between us, but the ball is squarely in your court on that one. I look forward to you taking my word unconditionally on the health and safety of my own children in the very near future. That would be neat, wouldn’t it?

Yours in educational excellence through continued partnership,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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