Fortuna Union High School District Chooses to Stay Open Despite Public Health Officer ‘Strongly Recommending’ Schools Move to Distance Learning After Thanksgiving

Fortuna High School the night that two students were arrested for plotting a mass casualty. [Photo by Sandi Petersen]

Fortuna High School at night. [Photo by Sandi Petersen]

Letter Posted by Fortuna Union High School District

The Fortuna Union High School District (FUHSD) is proud to be able to offer many educational options: distance learning, in-person and independent study. These options are available because the students, staff and community have been diligent in following the protocols and safety measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. We would like to keep these options open for our students.

On Tuesday, November 17, the district received a letter from the Humboldt County Public Health Officer strongly recommending that schools move to distance learning following Thanksgiving break. On Monday, November 16, the FUHSD Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting where the board unanimously decided to keep our facilities open and continue to offer the three educational options. The board would like to keep these options open for our students and clearly stated that it was the community’s responsibility to help our district remain open.

The State of California along with the Humboldt County Public Health Department has issued a nonessential travel advisory. The advisory addresses two different types of travel, outside of California and outside of Humboldt County but within California.

If you travel out of California, the advisory recommends self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to California. If you travel outside of Humboldt County, but remain in California, the advisory recommends self-quarantine for 14 days after your return if your activities while traveling put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19.

If you must travel, reduce your risk by wearing a face mask and stay six (6) feet away from people you do not live with, avoid spending time indoors with people you don’t normally live with to the extent possible, try to limit the number of people you interact with, don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with, and avoid or limit holiday meals or gathering with people you don’t normally live with. DO NOT travel if you are sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and wait for a negative test before you start your trip.

Anyone becoming ill with possible COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider and isolate at home except to access health care. Other household members should continue their quarantine at home, while awaiting further direction from a health care provider. If a primary care provider is not available or more guidance is desired, please contact local Public Health or the COVID Community Information Line at 707-441-5000.

FUHSD is requesting you follow the protocols and advisories of the county and state to ensure our ability to remain open for our students.

We are all in this together,

Charles Ellebrecht FUHSD Board President



  • The school board and fortuna residents have the same mind set of that idiot at Costco earlier this week. They wont believe in this ever, not even in death bed. We need to protect ourselves from this level of ignorance.

    • You couldn’t have said it better!

      • mlr the giant squirrel in Eureka

        Science says open schools are a safe place for our children. It’s only the teachers that don’t want kids at the schools.

    • What you call ignorance is actually a belief in personal freedom. Freedom from government interference and to make choices and protect your family based in your own specific situation and risk tolerance. People who believe in personal freedom usually believe in personal responsibility, so they will often follow rules and guidelines because it’s the right thing to do. They just don’t think the government should be able to exert that kind of power over citizens. I applaud FUHSD for allowing options so that students and families can choose for themselves how to continue learning while staying safe.

      • Lol, freedom of government control. It’s a pandemic. Ignorant people need to be protected from themselves. Dont remember the constitution giving us freedom of government control. You read it the way you want.

        • YES!!! Big Brother is here to protect us! We must always do as we’re told – no questions asked.

        • I just want to make the end of the story.

          The name “pandemic” was incorrect.

          It was used to create adherence to policy.

          The real pandemic is our health care, our educational system, poverty, and endless funding for the military industrial complex.

          *Cmon man*…wake up.

          The control structure has been hijacked to be weaponized against the simple minded.

          You want some respect?…

          , start speaking in terms of why the above isn’t considered worthy of pandemic status, and your belief in our experts are so focused on a medical system that needs to be funded when it’s ability to prevent disease has been a disgrace.

          Try Harder to appeal to intelligent and free thinking minority.

    • Yeah she was probably from Fortuna, yet another reason to avoid that town.

    • Agreed! I’ve been vocal about this from the get go and the school board ignores me and all parents as well as the teachers. It’s all about their own self interest. They do not have our children’s well being in concern.

    • I am a resident of Fortuna. I will tell you that many of us disagree with Ellebrecht. Many of us have attempted to voice our concerns only to be shut down by this man. My child is in this school. He does not care one iota for our children or our teachers. He is cow towing to the wealthy in this town. They are not the majority but they control the town. Dewey needs to stand up and say no.

    • mlr the giant squirrel in Eureka

      Pfizer is ready to ship today and inoculate 50 million Americans with the Trump vaccine before the end of the year if only the lazy bureaucrats would burn a little midnight oil to review the data and approve the vaccine. Are they going to delay the vaccine and kill hundreds of thousands because they’re lazy or because they don’t want Trump to get the credit?

      • Trump had nothing to do with it, but I’m sure some of the stupid people out there will believe you.

        A famous comedian once said (not so comically) “Think about how stupid the average person is, and realize half the people are more stupid than that?”

        • Don't believe everything you think

          Obviously they are not too stupid to be unable to write. Of course Trump has everything to do with it. You will surely blame him for anything that goes wrong but can not set aside your unreasoning emotionalism enough to credit if he’s done right. The unfortunate reality is that there is much more scope for stupidity to survive in a society for people can easily be dumb as rocks and still be taken care of while there are the limits of physiology to limit intelligence.

  • Even the marxist indoctrinators are tired of government control.

    Operation lockstep anyone?

    • So you’re tired. We are all tired but this is when we show what we are made of. Tired doesn’t kill you but surendering to the virus will early. Get back in the game and help us beat this.

    • You seem to think that you know more than scientists, medical professionals, and anyone who has lost someone to the virus. Get over yourself, realize that you are NOT exempt from the rules, and actually do something to help with this pandemic!

  • Why do we not listen to those who know more about this. It’s the mentality that it won’t happen to me or my family. I certainly hope it doesn’t because if you lose a loved one it really sucks. I know it happened to our family.

    • Well the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that they believe the goal of every district should be to have kids in schools. You can check out their advice at and maybe pass any on to the fuhsd that they aren’t considering

  • good for them

  • The Mendocino sherrif just said he won’t enforce the curfew, not that they could even if they tried. Kinda interesting seeing local government ignoring the state, and the state opposing the federal government, it’s almost like the whole system doesn’t work as well as they might have you believe…

    • It’s supposed to be how it works. Federalism.

      The government is supposed to be stymied at every step. It’s engineered into the system… for the statists it must be terribly annoying.

  • Idiots.

    • But then they voted for Trump too…

    • Maybe as long as they can blame others, people will not notice that nagging has almost zero effectiveness. And, after 9 months, it’s lost much of what it had. Yes, if everyone stayed home all the time the virus would die out. But people can’t because even the government runs out of money without people working and paying taxes. Yes, if all people wore masks and stayed six feet apart (really more than that but that’s another debate), the virus would spread slowly. Which if it spread any more slowly, this pandemic would go one for decades. But if the naggers noticed, people don’t do that. And to try to build a united front after a decade of deliberately pissing each other off and calling each other idiots, by continuing to call each other idiots is the epitome of- well- idiocy.

  • This way Fortuna can shut down completely in about 3-4 weeks Throwing caution to the wind in our schools is completely irresponsible

  • 🕯🌳I live right by the school and see it all the time. Fortuna police don’t wear masks so people in town don’t wear masks I was starting to believe the town was taking a turn for the better but talking to some of the people and witnessing some of the people not caring well there the reason I started the name. But I won’t say it anymore out of respect to Kym. Peace out. 🖖🖖

  • “District” is misspelled in the headline

  • Don Jr. now has the nonexistent/fake/hoax/ruse-to-harm-the-Donald disease. For a “fake” disease, a remarkable number of people in Trump’s orbit are doing a great job of pretending to have it.

  • Some live in reality and others live in denial. You will never be able to save everyone and everything. Fortuna High had zero cases in August, zero cases in Sept, zero cases in Oct , 2 cases in Nov, I think they have controlled covid better than Humboldt county health dept . Maybe FUHS has something to teach Humboldt health dept, since Humboldt health dept has only one solution ” lock down” lame , zero thought, but saves my job.

    • I have a child in this school. Those kids have a reputation for being “out and about” if you get my meaning. Which means the parents are allowing this risky behavior and do not give a rats ass about those around them. This is why there has to be strict rules put in place because people are too damn stupid to self regulate.

  • Fortuna police don’t even wear masks, no concern for public safety.

    • Every time I’ve been pulled over Fortuna the officer has been masked and stays at a distance. I’ve also seen the local Fortuna police lady handing out masks to high school kids.

      • How often are you pulled over????

        • Quit often, I live in a neighborhood were people like to take my registration sticker.

          • I just want to make the end of the story.

            Remove all old stickers, clean with rubbing alcohol, place new sticker on clean plate surface, then use razor blade to slice the face of the sticker multiple different directions.

            Getting that sticker off will be a very long and arduous process.

            Like convincin the general public of freedom of expression.

            Look mom, no MAD MAsX

      • 🕯🌳Now I know your lieing ranger boy. 🖖🖖

        • Sorry Willie, its the truth. If they are alone in their car Willie, I don’t feel wearing a mask prevents anything. But you also thought FUHS would have an explosion in cases by the end of August. Because these so called knuckledraggers won’t follow masking and distancing rules. You were wrong then also.

          • The good thing about predicting dire results from other people’s behavior is eventually something bad will happen and you can rejoice in being right. Unfortunately noticing the many more times you are wrong will be given a pass.

    • haha your statement does not match what I saw in Fortuna this week.

      Two cop cars at a residence assisting at a med emergency. All cops in masks.

      Used to be only bad guys wore masks, except for super hero guys or gals.

      Maybe Fortuna cops are super heroes?

      Give them a break please.

      • This point needs to be stressed. Fortuna PD has some excellent officers, professionals who care about the community. And it’s clearly a difficult community to police.

        The point is that someone who sits at the head of the school board shouldn’t be maligning the teachers as opioid addicts because they are afraid of entering a work environment which disregards their feelings and safety.

        Ellebrecht’s complete dismissal of these people’s concerns shows he has zero understanding of education and those who make it possible.

        • Believe it or not, he speaks for the majority of the parents. Kids have a choice at FUHS ,they can distance learn or in person, I think their choice is clear. Ellebrecht speaks for the parents loud and clear. Don’t try to state otherwise.

          • 🕯🌳I see the police every day, I see them when they go in and out of the Redwood Cafe and are they wearing masks no way. I’ve watched them pull people over from the Shell to Safeway and there not wearing a mask now things might be changing because they are being watched and there feeling the pressure so we’ll see.🖖🖖

          • I said Ellebrecht “…has zero understanding of education and those who make it possible.”

            Fortuna parents are the source of the problem.

            No amount of in-person schooling is going to do any good for kids raised by people with an anti-science view of the world.

            • I was stating how it went down , because your statement made it sound like it was all Mr. Ellenbrecht decision. Parents can raise their kids as they wish, that is another fact of life you can’t change, some never learn. As for the science, it takes a level of comprehension to understand science, good luck. Science is also just data ,and there isn’t much data on COVID-19, sorry to kill your science. What are the chances of a 15 year old that has no underlying conditions to die from COVID-19, just curious what that percentage is, not asking for long term organ damage, just death.

              • “…your statement made it sound like it was all Mr. Ellenbrecht decision.”

                Not it didn’t. You are just doing what’s called “lazy reading.”

                “Parents can raise their kids as they wish, that is another fact of life…”

                I appreciate the glibness of this remark. Yes, parents who send their kids to Public school have the right to be anti-science morons.

                “…it takes a level of comprehension to understand science, good luck. Science is also just data ,and there isn’t much data on COVID-19, sorry to kill your science.”

                This is why sensible people increasingly feel like it’s a waste of time arguing with people like you. People that prattle on like this – you – have spent their lives sneering at educated people: academics, journalists, the legal world, doctors, researchers, economists, artists, actors. You spend your life telling yourself, and everyone around you, that these people are full of shit and know nothing. That they’re all on the take…that they cant figure out real life…that they cant shoot a gun.

                Now you – who clearly have no background in anything related to education, science, or art – come out of the woodwork and try to tell people who went to school, who know science, who understand research, who understand history…that YOU (not the smart people) know the truth and, well, “sorry I have to correct your ignorance but no one knows anything about Covid and it’s all bullshit.”

                Now that is a good joke.

                Your poor understanding of the dangers of exposing teenagers to covid is also a joke. That’s because it’s the SPREADING of the virus- the spreading of Covid by young people to the vulnerable- that is the problem with leaving schools open in a pandemic.

                Young people are driving the spread of the virus. That is a fact.

                Spare us your ignorant musings on parenting and science.

                • I ask one question and i get eight paragraphs of bs. Typical deflect and attack , lame is all I can say. I’ve put my wife through college, and two of my kids, the last two are at FUHS, one distance, one in person. I give them the low down and let them make their own decisions. No science needed here .

                  • “No science needed here”

                    Yeah, and no self-awareness either.

                    • Children almost always drive epidemics. It’s the nature of immune systems that they don’t react unless they have had previous exposure. Children are in the process of being serially exposed and increasing the library of diseases their immune systems recognize.

                      Keeping them isolated means that they won’t be exposed to other things too. If indeed you were successful in your fantasy of total isolation and then it ends, the poor child will be exposed to a huge number of things in one blow. It would be like creating the devastation of illness that swept through indigenous populations after European immigration. It is more likely that their immune systems would not be able to cope with a sudden exposure to many different pathogens at once and fail to cope. Be careful about what you ask for.

                  • You seem to be unable to count. Try those paragraphs again.

              • I just want to make the end of the story.
                • I think this link is much better. It’s a press release from Canada’s Royal College distancing itself from this clown’s conspiracy theory and reaffirming its commitment to the evidence of actual research on Covid:


                  “The Royal College believes COVID-19 presents a serious threat to the health of Canadians. The Royal College strongly supports all public health advice given by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, including recommendations to practise physical distancing and to wear masks to help prevent COVID-19 transmission. We are very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of our Royal College Fellows, residents and all front-line health care workers in the fight against COVID-19.”

                  But I’m sure you’ll tell me that one of Canada’s biggest institutions of medical training is part of the “Scam” of the pandemic.

      • 🕯🌳I live right across the street from the police and that they come under fire for not wearing sure a few might start but its only happen recently I guarantee it. If was allowed to post pictures I could have done a photo essay on how they weren’t wearing the masks for the last three months. 🖖🖖 And just because people refuse to go to get tested doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t present in that area or running rampant. 🇺🇸

  • They don’t seem to care about what our Public Health Officer says. No wonder she wants to resign.

    • Does she offer solutions to the dilemma of parents who are required to work as to how they are to see to the care of their non attending children? Does she offer solutions to paying for food and shelter when a parent is laid off because the business is ordered shut? Does she notice that kid’s teeth don’t get taken care off or that medical offices are restricting visits? Or that special needs children lose timely development training? Or that a kid’s dreams of an athletic or other scholarship is gone?

      It’s not that people don’t listen as much as what they hear is not something they can use.

  • On Wednesday of this week, I got tested for Covid because I felt some cold/flu symptoms. One hour later the testing facility gave me a written report of “negative test results”, meaning NO Covid.

    Being sure I was not carrying covid, I considered going to a friend’s house to help with some chores. There is a high risk resident there. Fortunately I took the lazy path and stayed away.

    Next day came the fever and pain, and other symptoms.

    The day after, 48 hours after the test, the test facility called me with news of “positive test results”. CONFLICTING REPORTS OF THE OUTCOME FROM THE SAME SAMPLE COLLECTION.

    County Health remarked to me that this has happened before, I’m not the only one, and twice today.

    So if the test is giving some false-negative results, and the patient proceeds as if it is NOT covid, the result would be, as it was in my case, a covid carrier walking around grocery stores that is wearing a mask, thinking they were free of covid, at least for the time being.

    When I was being tested, there was a group of 6 men in line before me, who worked for the same employer, who got the same test, got results in an hour, and went back to work on their jobs.

    One guy told me they got tested because one of their co-workers tested positive. Were any of their reported test results wrong? I don’t know.

    First hand experience from me:
    1) Covid hurts.
    2) I wore a mask and followed all of the rules around covid.
    3) Test results are too often misleading.

    My opinion as I sit here feeling like &%^& is that we in our community really have no idea when we may be struck with the covid bug as individuals, and that everyone should just stay home, IF THEY CAN, at least for a while.

    I don’t have answers, just an opinion.

    Opening the school just doesn’t feel right.

    Just saying.

    • In my 1911 I trust

      My experience of covid has been a persistent headache, a sore throat in the morning, a cough here and there, and a loss of taste. I feel almost normal by night though. I have a hard time believing that people actually die from this, unless you are definitely on your way out. I don’t know though, not out of the woods yet, I may wake up tomorrow completely floored though.

      • I just want to make the end of the story.

        At least you can take some solace that you can actually manifest a healthier lifestyle by choice.

        Nothing like recognizing our mortality to reinforce LIVING.

  • mlr the giant squirrel in Eureka

    Are there more than two documented cases nationwide of school age kids transmitting covid? School closures are all about the teachers without regard for the damage closures cause to the kids.

  • Fortuna High School has given the parents and students options: In-person learning, distance learning and independent. After careful consideration we opted for in-person. Last year BEFORE covid 19 my children came home sick at least once every two months. When covid 19 hit and was spiking, I was ready to pull them out; there was no way my children were going, then the school closed. Fortuna High School has put in some amazing policies and CLEANING PROCEDURES, options and keep the parents informed continually. They have gone above and beyond. This year my students have NOT come home sick once. The Fortuna High School Safety Plan is available on their site if anyone is interested.

  • Release the vaccine please FDA, what is the hold up?I will be very disappointed if released February 1.

  • Well, I’m sorry to to say I saw a police officer pull over an older masked gentleman and was engaging him from the drivers side without a mask. You don’t believe me, oh well. Ill live. But that’s what I saw. It was the day after the election and Fortuna had a down trodden feeling cast all over town. I liked it.

    • I think alot of Fortuna people voted for Biden, hate to burst your bubble. I’ve also seen alot of face shields and skin tone masks that are hard to see from a distance. Biden will fix everything that is wrong with your world lmao just like Trump did and every prez before. What a joke.

    • To have liked it is pretty unempathic and mean spirited. And pretty damaging to the very community action that so many insist is needed to deal with the pandemic.

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