Topic

Reopen Schools

37 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Education

Parents calling on Governor Kemp to resume in-person classes for kids with special needs

Georgia public school districts that are planning to start the upcoming 2020-2021 school year with virtual only offerings are leaving kids with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) behind by denying eligible students a free appropriate public education or FAPE. More options and alternatives need to be made available for parents and their kids with disabilities.  It doesn't make sense why day cares can stay open, but special education classes and services can't resume with appropriate safety measures. Many months of doing Zooms and virtual therapy does not really work for many children with IEPs. Not all children are alike and some kids need more than other kids do. Even under the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the state has an obligation to provide services outlined in each students individualized education plan. Many essential supports for children with significant disabilities cannot be provided virtually. These include: feeding, personal care, behavior support, supervision for elopement, hand over hand prompting. These services are required by IEPs (legal documents) but are not being provided. Districts need out of the box thinking during these “unprecedented times." By nature the needs of our students are very specialized so the one size fits all virtual solution is not appropriate. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) considers the school system the “service provider” for school aged children with disabilities to ensure they can stay at home with their families in home and community based settings. Taking away this support makes them at risk for institutionalization as overwhelmed families lack the resources to obtain this care privately. On behalf of children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 22, enrolled in the public school system and eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, parents are asking Governor Kemp to consider opening special needs programs by signing a new executive order that will allow necessary in-person special education instruction during the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. 

Todd Hartle
3,482 supporters
Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to Kirk Twigg, Dr. Lorita C. Daniels, Erin K. Grampp, Lisa A. Phelps, Rabih Abuismail, Dr. S. Scott Baker, Baron P. Braswell, Dawn Shelley

Demand that Spotsylvania County Public Schools get their students back at school!

Enough is enough! I know that Spotsylvania County Schools get a lot of petitions regarding the closure of schools, but I plead with you to reopen them! Spotsylvania County Public Schools needs to reverse their decision on making schools all virtual for 2 weeks! So much of the district struggled greatly with the first quarter being all virtual. We have been let down by our school board during this pandemic. My education is suffering and the education of my classmates is suffering. Many parents are unable to work at home and watch their children to make sure that they are getting the education they need. Children are falling behind; not only with their education, but also with their social development. Closing schools fails the students, because we are falling behind in life and virtual schooling is not the path that a lot of them need. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have reported that schools need to reopen for the well-being of the students. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that, "No evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission.Children are at low risk to suffer from serious effects of COVID-19." Vulnerable students can do Virtual Virginia or some other online schooling program. The number of staff members that are currently working 100% virtual can and should be decreased (Meaning all staff should be forced to come in, unless they or someone that they are living with have a proven medical condition that can make them vulnerable to COVID-19.) as I know that there are teachers who are more than capable to come in and teach, but are staying home instead and that upsets students and lets them down. Spotsylvania County Public Schools, the mission that you have for your students is, "Together, we prepare our students for their future." Closing schools is not preparing us for our future. This should not be about politics. This should be about the well-being of your students and their parents who pay your salary.

Braedon Recore
36 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Maryland Governor, Maryland State House, Maryland State Senate

DO THE WORK to Reopen Maryland's Classrooms

Dear Governor Hogan, Maryland State Senators and Maryland State Representatives: Across the state, students are suffering academically and emotionally because they have not had in-class learning since the beginning of March 2020. While COVID-19 safety measures warranted school closings, there has been no evidence of a concerted effort in some school districts to work toward some form of reopening. They seem content in avoiding the challenge of figuring out how schools can move forward with some form of in-person instruction. This is where the State of Maryland should and must intervene.  As a result of all-virtual instruction, students have been denied the crucial benefits of in-person interaction with their teachers and fellow classmates. These students have suffered tremendously-with no foreseeable end to 100 percent virtual "learning."They have experienced failing grades, depression -- even suicide. At least one high-school student, Michael Myronuk,  Jr. of Baltimore, lost all hope and took his own life because Maryland prioritized businesses like casinos, bars and Chuck E Cheese -over the well-being of kids and teens.  Students with special needs are particularly under-served and wronged by all-virtual learning. Without in-person interaction, it's been next to impossible for them to get anything out of classroom instruction. At best, they lose the critical benefit of having regular routines, structure and one-on-one support. The State of Maryland has left districts and counties to their own devices in reopening schools -- and this has enabled politics to prevail over the best interest of Maryland's students. Indeed, teachers have reason to be concerned about returning to the classrooms and have the right to demand provisions that will ensure their safety. But there must be a state-level mandate that schools actually implement reopening plans that balance those rights with the rights of students to get the best learning and developmental experience from their schools. The well-being of students should be the main objective of any school system in any situation-including a pandemic. Instead, school reopening decisions in many Maryland counties have created political food chains in which students come last...because many of them can't vote...so their voices and cries for help continúe to go unheard. And the ineptitude of school districts in actively working on reopening plan is enforced by groups who, for mysterious reasons, appear to be completely resistant to any reopening scenario-regardless of COVID numbers or safety measures. They don't even want to discuss or hear about it. And those sentiments continue to paralyze decision-makers from doing what's best for Maryland students -especially those with special needs, transitioning from elementary or middle school, or who lack the skills and resources to be successful in an all-virtual instruction environment. This is particularly crucial since teachers in certain counties continue to grade students per pre-COVID county guidelines. Therefore, the petitioners here demand the state of Maryland to take decisive steps to move all public schools to some form of reopening by Spring These steps should include: Ensuring that each school district has the necessary funds to procure sanitizing, PPE and other protective resources to reopen safely  Mandating that all school district implement these reopening plans in a way that enables opening by March 2020. Maryland students deserve the states very best efforts to get them back into the classroom in a way that takes into the utmost consideration of the safety needs of students, faculty and their family members. As evidenced in in areas around the world with highly dense populations (among the most notable, New York City) there has been little or evidence that schools have been the cause of spikes in COVID numbers. Indeed, it's been the bars, restaurants, casinos and other for-profit entities - which have been allowed to open instead of schools- that have caused these spikes. This has unfairly made reopening classrooms more difficult...but not impossible. We made this mess for Maryland students. Now we must make it right for them by mandating all school districts in the state reopen within the parameters (or those similar to) those listed in this petition.                                                                                                                              

Lisa Lake
202 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to LGUSD School Board & Superintendent

Reopen LGUSD Schools

Dear LGUSD and Superintendent Paul Johnson, The purpose of this petition is to regain our rights to choose, as parents and taxpayers in Los Gatos, CA, to send our children to school utilizing the traditional classroom setting. On 6/4/20, the LGUSD School Board sent out a survey to families regarding 3 possible options for the 2020/21 school year - remote learning, hybrid, and full reopening. On 7/2/20 an email was sent out to families from the Superintendent stating "After careful consideration, we are currently moving forward with resuming some form of in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.” On 7/15/20, parents received another email from the Superintendent confirming that schools would begin remotely but that their “plans for reopening are strong.” The email also included an arbitrary timeline for a hybrid schedule starting with Phase 1 on Sept. 8th and Phase 2 on Oct. 12th, etc.  On 7/23/20, CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield released a statement saying “it is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall.” A sentiment he has repeated several times since, and which is echoed by Dr Fauci, among others On 9/10/20, parents were asked to take another survey to determine support for in-person learning. Nearly 70% of parents voted in favor of returning to in-person school.  On 9/20/20, parents were informed that “The earliest that students could return would be during an Oct. 12-29 window.” Yet inexplicably, on 10/5/20, the LGUSD Superintendent, Paul Johnson, informed parents of his arbitrary decision to delay the hybrid learning option until at least January 2021, despite overwhelming parental support in favor of hybrid/in-person learning, and in defiance of the county and state guidelines, not to mention locally decreasing transmission rates. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “We recognize that children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support, and other services that cannot be easily replicated online…”.  Additionally, the current AAP recommendation for screen time per day is limited to 1 hour or less.  Virtual learning far exceeds this medical recommendation and is in fact about to get worse for our middle schoolers. A new schedule is being rolled out on Oct 26th, whereby middle school students will be on zoom calls from 8:30am - 10:55am with just a 5-minute break in between periods (and after 70 minutes of solid screentime). For those students who have electives after "lunch", they will, on two days a week, have calls from 8:30am - 12:35pm with just two "breaks" - 5 minutes and 20 minutes (ostensibly for lunch).  Virtual learning is not conducive for the students, the teachers, or the parents. Nor is it meant for long-term learning. Often the responsibility lays with the parents to ensure their children are following the schedule, sorting out technical issues, providing extra academic support, etc. Even more so with the lower grades. With many parents working, this pressure on parents is unattainable. Students are suffering immensely - emotionally, socially, and academically, and these are likely to cause long-term effects. They are feeling lonely and anxious, isolated, and depressed and are falling behind academically. Many students also report feeling demotivated - we worry that the damage will be irreversible. After nearly 8 months, they were looking forward to returning to the classroom. Los Gatos is fortunate enough to have some of the lowest transmission rates in the county, and with the county/state mandates of temperature checks, social distancing, and face masks, the chances of transmission are minimal. Furthermore, we pay hefty taxes for the privilege of being in one of the best school districts in the Bay Area, with some of the best teachers.  We, as parents, whether working from home or outside of the home, are not qualified, trained, or educated in the way these teachers are, and cannot provide the quality of instruction and education that the classroom setting does. It is truly detrimental to the children's education experience and will set them back academically, emotionally, and mentally for the coming years.  We strongly feel that the decision to delay the return of face to face learning, leaving only the remote virtual learning choice, is a one size fits all approach in which only one viewpoint is accommodated.  It simply works for only those who want it this way. However, an overwhelming majority of families do not want to continue with virtual learning for their children, given the impact on their mental health, and learning loss. There are innumerous well-respected press articles quoting prominent child psychologists, scientists, and education experts agreeing that it is essential for students to return to in-person school without further delay. Indeed most studies have also found no link between re-opening schools and increased transmission rates. As parents, we can not stand by and allow our children to continue to suffer when there is no justifiable or legal reason to continue with the school closures. For the reasons stated above, we, the Parents, petition to reopen our schools for face to face learning without any further unnecessary delay. UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING FOR ADDED CONTEXT:  - Under the guidance of the California Department of Public Health, K-12 schools may open for in-person instruction when a county has been in Tier 2 (the Red Tier) of the State’s Blueprint for a Safe Economy for 14 days. As of September 22, 2020, Santa Clara County remained in Tier 2 for 14 days. K-12 schools in Santa Clara County were therefore allowed to resume full in-person instruction on September 23, 2020. On October 13, 2020, the County of Santa Clara moved into the State of California’s Orange Tier (Tier 3). For context, the Orange tier allows:  --Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. This includes movie theaters, churches, cultural ceremonies. --Indoor dining up to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.--Indoor museums and zoos up to 50% capacity--College sports activities without fans following County and State requirements--No capacity limitation for malls and other retail businesses. In LGUSD's reopening proposal, they have confirmed that: --families will have the choice to stay as remote learners from home, or return to-in-person school.  --plans have been put in place for students and teachers to be socially distanced at all times on campus (including in classrooms), as well as the strict maintenance of small cohorts. --all those on campus (students, staff, and teachers) will be subject to daily temperature checks, mandatory face covering (unless medically exempted/eating), and encouraged to hand wash frequently. The chances of transmitting the virus under these strict, but necessary, safety measures are minimal. We are aware that the risk is not zero but it is unlikely to be zero for several years to come, if ever. Our community rates are low and steady and there is no reason for further delay. They have already been without school for over 7 months. People are able to eat inside restaurants (no masks) and host indoor gatherings and yet children are not able to return to school despite the mandatory strict safety measures proposed. How must it feel for our kids to know they are not a priority? That their education, their socioemotional development, their mental health are not important enough? We should be moving heaven and earth for our children. And as long as it is deemed safe to do so, we, as parents, will fight for their rights. 

Amanda Jacobs
688 supporters