Allow Methacton students to have the option to go virtual through zoom

Allow Methacton students to have the option to go virtual through zoom

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Jaylyn Ford started this petition to David A. Zerbe and

In Methacton School District, there is currently no option to go virtual on zoom, despite Covid-19 cases soaring rapidly. We have heard allegations that the administration will not go virtual for any reason other than there being too many teachers out sick. This is absolutely insane and outrageous. The behavior of the administration supports that these allegations are likely true. This is so incredibly dangerous, irresponsible, and cruel. Again, STUDENTS DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE OPTION TO GO ON ZOOM. At the moment, we are being required to go to in-person school no matter what. Methacton students and families are being denied the right to the best education that can be done SAFELY. Just having an OPTION to do school through Zoom during the worst surge of the Covid-19 pandemic is something that should already exist, and it’s a shame Methacton has not done this. We DEMAND to have a virtual option through Zoom immediately. 

For the detailed account of this petition, please see below:

This petition is to demand the option of virtual learning through Methacton online for Methacton school district students in response to the rapidly rising case counts due to the omicron variant of SARS- CoV-2. We are demanding to have the right to take classes virtually that are taught by our Methacton teachers through zoom or recorded video sessions of their classes, and to have the option to select attending school on a daily basis as either in-person, virtual, or listed as absent, as is being done in the Lower Merion school district.

Given the extreme transmissibility of omicron, where on 1/4/22 the CDC stated omicron is 3 times more infectious than the delta variant and now accounts for 95.4% of all covid cases in the US last week (ending Jan 1), we do not feel safe attending school. Although many adults  in charge are saying that students’ mental health was compromised by virtual learning, we can attest that we are not in a better mental health place by attending school in person right now. It is causing us anxiety, fear, and anger. Anger that when it was the adults that were at risk of COVID we were quickly put into virtual instruction, although at the time the evidence pointed to low risk for students. With omicron, however, children are the fastest growing category for infections. Just last week a record 325,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 amid the nation's most significant COVID-19 infection surge yet, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. And hospitalizations for children are up, yet hospital capacity for children is at the lowest point in the pandemic. On 1/5/22 if you go to the Pennsylvania COVID-19 dashboard, as of 1/5/22 there were only 42 pediatric ICU beds available statewide, constituting only 11.3% of available pediatric ICU beds statewide. In Montgomery county we have no pediatric ICU beds, so if you include the greater Philadelphia area, on 1/5/22 there were only 10 pediatric ICU beds available, 4.1% of their full capacity, and Lehigh county has only 7 pediatric ICU beds available. If we get sick and require hospitalization there will be no place for us to go. We are fearful and anxious about falling ill or seeing our classmates fall ill, and we are anxious about bringing home the virus to our families and our community.

Even for adult hospitalizations, hospitalizations in Montgomery county have surpassed the hospitalizations in the spring of 2020 and are about to surpass the hospitalization peak of the surge in December 2020.

We do not feel safe attending school right now. Hearing students cough causes us to feel like sitting ducks. We are not required to wear higher grade masks (N95/KN95/KF94 and surgical grade masks), yet numerous studies point to the need for higher grade masks to prevent the aerosol transmission of omicron.

Even with masks required in the school building, they are removed at lunch, and there is much research on and mounting evidence of the aerosolized spread of omicron. With the increased transmissibility of omicron and its aerosolized spread, everyone in the cafeteria can be exposed, including students who enter the cafeteria in later periods. It is a superspreader location.

Although we have students that are vaccinated within the district (we do not have data available on the specific numbers however, which is a huge data gap and should be important information for the district to share), that does not prevent those students from getting or transmitting omicron. There is evidence that omicron has immune escape and is able to evade the antibodies produced by the vaccine, and it can take two days on average once infected for the memory B cells (the later stage immune response) to start reducing the omicron load in infected people (and thus even vaccinated people can be infectious during that time).

Additionally, using rapid testing to detect omicron is not reliable, as omicron tends to first infect the throat and can take 2 days or so to move to the nasal passages, where it could then be detected by rapid antigen tests. Even with “test-to-stay” programs students could still be infectious during that time. People can also be infectious for 2 days prior to symptoms arising.


Even if infection is mild, students (and all infected individuals) are vulnerable to the possibility of long COVID as well as MISC-C, the multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

On 1/3/22, Cedars-Sinai issued a report that they found evidence of an overactive immune response with infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, that it can trigger an immune response that lasts well beyond the initial infection and recovery—even among people who had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to Cedars-Sinai investigators. The findings are published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Considering the extremely rapid increase in student cases within the district (mid-teens on 1/3/22, to 34 on 1/4/22, to 52 on 1/5/22, that creates a very alarming case rate in just the high school alone. We can assume that as of 1/5/22 at least 30 contagious students have been in the high school since winter break ended.

With the numbers of students home sick or needing to quarantine, we are requesting the option of virtual zoom instruction by Methacton teachers (not the Brandywine Virtual Academy) on a day-by-day attendance basis. In high school in particular it is exceptionally difficult to miss extended periods of classroom instruction and assignments on Google classroom are not sufficient to help us stay up with our coursework.






46 have signed. Let’s get to 50!
At 50 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!