Save Lives & Give Families Mailing Options for Chromebook Distribution

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Caucus of Working Educators started this petition to Dr. Hite and the Board of Education

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we are urging the School District of Philadelphia to create a District-coordinated delivery option for Chromebooks. As educators, activists, district parents, and students, we are deeply concerned by the decision to require thousands of students and families to leave their homes and risk their lives in order to acquire these Chromebooks. With the reality of the exponential growth of infections and the increased risk everyone takes by leaving their home for any reason, we strongly believe that families should choose delivery as a way to keep their families safe and attempt to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in our city. Families should not be forced to choose between technology access for their student(s) and the safety of their family. 

The worst is yet to come. By the time the actual pickup dates arrive (April 13th-17th), the situation in Philadelphia will be much worse. As of today, Thursday April 2nd, the total number of COVID-19 cases in our city has exceeded 1,500. We already know that our hospitals do not have the capacity to  support an enormous amount of people needing hospitalization. In Spain, they have resorted to using an ice rink for bodies because their morgues are full and dead bodies are being abandoned in nursing homes. At a hospital in New York, they’re utilizing a refrigerated trailer to store bodies because their morgue is full.

The United States currently has the most cases in the world. We must all do our part to try to reduce the number of cases moving forward. We know that the district is trying to do what is best for our students and staff. However, asking thousands of students and families to travel, many of them via public transportation, to pick up Chromebooks will only worsen the COVID-19 outbreak in Philadelphia, therefore causing more deaths. 

Below is our proposal for how this process could happen as efficiently as possible to reduce people’s exposure to COVID-19. Our priority must be keeping people alive, which means reducing the number of families traveling to receive Chromebooks. 

Our Proposal:

  1. The School District of Philadelphia creates a centralized survey in multiple languages, utilizing the knowledge of Bilingual Counseling Assistant Coordinators, to gather data on which families need a delivery option to receive Chromebooks. This makes it easier for the district to coordinate a citywide delivery process.
  2. School leaders publicize options for families to receive Chromebooks. Families should be given a choice of how to receive their laptop. To ensure that all families are able to understand their options, outreach to limited-English proficient families should be coordinated through each school’s bilingual counseling assistant.
    - If families do not wish to risk travel during pandemic, they can fill out the District’s centralized survey in order to sign up for delivery. The District will deliver the laptop to where the students are currently sheltered-in-place. Therefore, the survey must ask for the address of where students are currently staying, which may be different from the address the District has on file.

We understand that this will be a challenge. However, it is more important that we keep our students and their families safe and alive. Many students have expressed concerns about carrying expensive technology like laptops home on public transportation and some students have to take 3 buses to get to their school. Our priority must be reducing the number of families traveling and congregating to receive Chromebooks.

The following organizations support this call for a Chromebook mailing option:
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools
Asian Americans United
Media Mobilizing Project
Melanated Educators Collective

Our City Our Schools
Parents Organized For A Better School District of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Home and School Council
Philadelphia Jobs with Justice
Philadelphia Student Union
Philly Educational Justice Research Collective
PhillySUN
Racial Justice Organizing Committee
Reclaim Philadelphia
Resource Generation
Teacher Action Group Philly

VietLead
215 People's Alliance

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