We're used to elected officials doing outrageous stuff, but shouldn't a Salem-Keizer school board member -- Jesse Lippold -- understand that breaking Covid rules Oregonians need to follow so schools can safely reopen isn't a smart thing to do?
Sure seems so. Thus let's give Lippold a "F" for failing to act like a responsible school board member. Hopefully voters will keep this in mind, since Lippold is one of four school board members up for re-election in May 2021.
The image above is from Lippold's Facebook account. It's been shared widely on social media by people who object to Lippold attending a New Year's Eve party where masks weren't worn and social distancing wasn't practiced.
The Oregon Health Authority has been saying that private parties like the one Lippold attended with his girlfriend are a big reason Covid cases have been markedly increasing in our state.
A Salem Reporter story, "Salem-Keizer board member criticized for violating state Covid rules with maskless New Year's party," lays out the cluelessness of what Lippold did. Here's how the story starts out.
A Salem-Keizer School Board Director is facing criticism after attending a maskless New Year’s party with about a dozen friends.
Jesse Lippold posted photos on his Instagram page over the weekend showing him, his girlfriend and other friends at a party.
Gov. Kate Brown and public health officials have frowned upon these types of gatherings and said that holding them would delay the reopening of schools and local businesses. Since November, social gatherings of more than six people who do not live together have been prohibited in Marion County under the state's Covid restrictions.
Lippold's post described the event as a “modern speakeasy” and said the group didn’t social distance but “were still less packed than every mall, Walmart or Costco.”
Screenshots of the post have been shared by Salem parents and teachers on Facebook, with many criticizing Lippold’s choice to ignore state rules.
Health officials in Marion County and at Oregon Health Authority have said for months informal social gatherings are a driver of the virus’ spread.
“It’s unacceptable that a public schools official is doing this while the rest of us are desperately abiding by rules in an effort to try and get our kids an opportunity to attend school,” wrote Stephanie Koski, a parent with an 8th grader in the district who has advocated for school reopening.
“While so many cry out for leadership, this isn’t it. Our kids are literally suffering, our community is hurting, and businesses are closing. You have officially lost my respect and vote,” wrote Reid Sund, a former candidate for Salem City Council, on his Facebook page.