Bring Back In Person Learning for Marblehead Students

Bring Back In Person Learning for Marblehead Students

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STAND UP FOR OUR STUDENTS IN MARBLEHEAD

  • Return K-12 to full-time in-person learning.
  • Reduce spacing guidelines 3 ft.
  • Provide protective teacher barriers.
  • Allocate remaining MHD Covid funds to update technology, build outdoor spaces and improve mental health services.
  • Build live-streaming capability for high-risk and quarantining students and teachers.

We are parents, grandparents, students, teachers, neighbors, caregivers, therapists, health care providers, coaches and good citizens of Marblehead and we care deeply about our students.  Following the emergency closure last March the children enrolled in our district have lost thousands of hours of in-class learning while other Massachusetts private and public schools have opened and demonstrated over the past year that a 3 foot distancing between students along with other stringent mitigation efforts result in almost zero in-school transmission of COVID. Our own state guidelines published in June 2020 set the social distancing requirements for schools at a minimum of 3 feet. The Massachusetts American Academy of Pediatrics have recently STOOD UP FOR OUR STUDENTS and sent an urgent message on February 14th, 2021 from a group of more than 60 physicians, public health experts and infectious disease specialists who are urging Massachusetts education leaders to ask schools to implement a 3 foot distance policy. These experts have given us a path forward to bringing our students and teachers safely back to school in Marblehead.


We have waited patiently for our local education and public health leaders to reopen the door to our children’s schools and return to full in-person learning and we are frustrated by the complicated solutions being proposed for our middle and high school students.  Moreover these half day AM/PM alternating schedules will serve to further REDUCE valuable in-person learning time for our students.  In addition, these piecemeal solutions inherently discriminate against those students who can not walk to and from school and create an impossibly challenging pick up and drop off schedule for working parents with multiple children.


We have learned that one of the most challenging barriers to a return to full time in-person learning for our students is unmasking at lunchtime.  How can we find a path forward that is safe for both students and our teachers?  One simple and inexpensive solution used by many local schools is a plexiglass desk shield and a strict policy requiring students to unmask only when eating or drinking similar to the policy implemented by the airline industry. 


Lastly, our most vulnerable high risk and remote teachers and students deserve the ability to livestream in MHD classrooms. While it is not a perfect solution for our remote students, it would be a marked improvement to the current outsourcing of high school classes to Virtual High School and Engenuity.  Our remote students deserve to feel like they are part of the school and they desperately want to be taught by a teacher or at a minimum with guided support from a Marblehead teacher.  There is simply no replacement for teacher led instruction and class interaction.


Our Marblehead school district has recently received grant funding for COVID relief in an amount over $450K and has not yet allocated its use. We ask that those funds be considered to upgrade our current technology platform, build outdoor classrooms and create a more robust mental health initiative right now when it is sorely needed, not over the next year or two.  The risks to students of not being in a supportive school environment are dramatic and we in the community are very concerned. Students have been isolated for months at home. Students in Marblehead are suffering an unprecedented level of more mental health issues, increased rates of non-accidental trauma, physical health concerns and learning loss.


We are worried and we are concerned for the future of these children.


WE ARE STANDING UP for the students of Marblehead and we hope our concerns will be heard and addressed by all of our state representatives, education leaders and public health experts in Massachusetts.  We implore you to advocate for the children in our community.  We respectfully ask you to STAND UP for the children in MARBLEHEAD to create a path forward to bring live and in-class full time instruction to all of our students as soon as possible!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!