Face to Face Education for Alamo Heights ISD

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Just as the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates for the importance of in-person learning, we are parents, tax-payers, contributing members of this community, volunteers, educators, essential workers, and concerned citizens that feel that Alamo Heights Independent School District has an obligation to provide the option for face to face learning to students. 

In-person learning is an essential service and critical to the well-being, education, and development of the children in this district. Just as physicians, healthcare workers, grocery stores, daycares, restaurants, and many others have all returned to work, so must our schools to provide the school service that is critical to children, adolescents, families, and the community. 

By keeping our children at home, we risk inflicting more harm than the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially considering that children are less likely to become infected, and may be less likely to spread infection (AAP). With the implementation of several safety measures to further reduce the risk of transmission, especially to mitigate exposure for our teachers and staff, we feel that there is a way to safely return to the classroom and that AHISD must provide an option for in-person learning for the children of tax-paying citizens. 

As stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, "the importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020."  "Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families."

This petition serves to support teachers and school staff as essential workers and acknowledge the importance of returning to school to provide the essential service of in-person learning for students. While modifications will be needed to safely re-enter the classroom, and an option for virtual learning should be offered for those teachers and students that are vulnerable or high-risk, the school should not be considered in session until such time as face to face learning is available. 

We ask that AHISD advocate for the well-being and education of its students, by challenging any politically-driven funding eligibility and health directives that do not specifically consider scientific evidence related to children and adolescents in school.