Allow Caddo Parish students to attend school in person 5 days/week

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Parents, teachers, and concerned community members of Caddo Parish respectfully ask that leadership of Caddo Parish School Board allow our schools to fully reopen, in Traditional Model, for on-campus learning, leaving fully virtual learning for those in need.

“Hybrid” is serving two masters and faithful to none. Parents students and faculty have expressed concerns and disappointment.

The risk of COVID-19 to the Louisiana school community is low. According to Louisiana Public Heath data, zero deaths have occurred in Caddo Parish in the group aged 0-22. Also, from that data, we know that the median age of death is 77 years old.
 
Furthermore, 99% of COVID-19 cases worldwide are mild. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ Studies from China, Israel, USA, Switzerland, Singapore, France, and Ireland have found that transmission from children to adults is rare. https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/evidence-summary-paediatric-covid-19-literature/ .  Yet the risk associated with continued distance learning is high:

• Significant learning gaps

• Increase in high school dropout rate

• Decrease in college applications

• Loss of food security

• Decrease in physical activity

• Social isolation

• Unmitigated risk of physical/sexual abuse

• Substance abuse

• Anxiety and depression

• Suicide

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently advised “all policy considerations should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” And, “Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services… places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality." The AAP also stated, “although children and adolescents play a major role in … influenza outbreaks … this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2.” https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/ Schools have opened safely in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. In the United States (including CA), daycare centers like the YMCA have provided childcare for 40,000+ children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic without any significant outbreaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-v0BxLUEdU&t=86s
  
According to the NAACP, school closings disproportionately affect minorities. https://naacp.org/coronavirus/coronavirus-impact-on-students-and-education-systems/ .  Students with disabilities, those from low-income households, and those from non-English speaking households are also disproportionately and negatively impacted by school closures. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/04/10/where-are-they-students-go-missing-in.html Thus, distance learning exacerbates the inequalities of our society.

Our parish must put aside our political differences and unite in protecting the mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being of children.  Therefore, we declare that for the health and safety of our communities, Caddo Parish School Board must allow our willing students to fully return to a traditional model.