Superintendent Cindy Marten - please close schools in San Diego Unified School District!

Superintendent Cindy Marten - please close schools in San Diego Unified School District!

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Dwarka Chakravarty started this petition to Cindy Marten

The extremely contagious Coronavirus (COVID-19) has an estimated fatality rate of 10 times the flu. About two weeks ago there were only a handful of reported cases in the United States. As of Thursday, March 12, there are 1600+ positive cases and over 40 deaths in the country.  Seven of these cases are in San Diego, with evidence pointing to a high likelihood of community spread and deaths - as pointed out by County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. 

The San Diego Unified School District website states "Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled". It is precisely for this reason that the University of California San Diego, San Diego State University, and the University of San Diego are shutting down their in-person classrooms and moving to virtual (online) instruction. A social distance of 6 feet or more is impossible to maintain in a regular classroom filled with students and their teachers.

Hence, it is extremely concerning that the San Diego Unified School district continues to put its students (our children), its teachers, and their families at risk. Our children are expected to attend schools along with several thousands of others, sharing small classrooms, and restrooms, and gathering in large numbers during lunch. What justifies putting school students and their teachers at risk, while protecting university students and professors? The answer of course is that there is no justification. We have an obligation to protect and safeguard our university as well as our school communities.

We understand how schools have become "free" day care providers - keeping children occupied and feeding them, thus enabling parents to work. We also understand that it is a lot more challenging for schools to shift to online instruction, unlike Universities. None of this justifies exposing children, teachers, and their families to Coronavirus risks. While school children may be less prone to severe illness and fatalities from COVID-19,  they can contract and spread the virus to more vulnerable family members.

Please act now to close our schools and protect our children, their teachers, and families - as Sacramento, San Francisco and West Contra Costa school districts have already done. Please do not wait until our children, teachers, family members, and communities contract the virus and force your hand. Education can be postponed and resumed; but a life lost, is lost forever.

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