Allow EPASD Students to Switch from In-Person Education to Fully Virtual Learning mid-MP

Allow EPASD Students to Switch from In-Person Education to Fully Virtual Learning mid-MP

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Harrison Lemley started this petition to EPASD School Board

As it stands, students of the East Pennsboro Area School District may not opt-out of in-person learning mid-marking period; they must wait until the next marking period to select the safer "live stream" learning. This inability of parents to protect their children is unacceptable. Parents must be capable of removing their children from a situation in which they are uncomfortable or have reason to fear for the health of their children. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the midst of a pandemic. Preventing parents from deciding whether their children should continue attending a school in-person on a daily basis in the middle of a global pandemic is a disgusting violation of the right every individual has to keep his or her children safe from a disease that is ravaging the entire globe.

A common argument against allowing parents to remove their students from in-person education mid-marking period is that they were given the choice to do so initially. While this is true, no parent could have predicted the steady rise of new cases per day in Pennsylvania, and it was impossible to tell how the school would handle social distancing until a student attended for at least a day. This inevitably means that dozens of parents will fear for the safety of their children without having the ability to do anything about it but watch as case numbers rise. Truly, the fact that a chance was given for parents to switch their children to live stream learning is no reason to prevent them from deciding what is best for their family on a live basis. Another argument against switching mid-marking period is that it will be abused; students will switch back and forth, causing unnecessary paperwork and confusing schedules. Despite how this argument might initially sound reasonable, it is easily dismissed by choosing to only allow an in-person student to switch to "live streaming" once, never allowing them to switch back. Students would only be allowed to opt-out of in-person instruction one additional time after their initial decision. There would be nothing difficult about implementing this change; it should be much more difficult to accept the idea that students will be forced to feel trapped in an environment that might make them feel unsafe. If you could save just one life, or make one person feel comfortable in his or her education environment, would you worry about what a hassle the scheduling might be?

With daily new cases rising from 300, to 1,000, to 1,300, parents are bound to feel unsafe about their children being in school at some point during the marking period. No one could have predicted the rise in cases, and so it is not fair to hold parents to their initial decisions on whether their children should choose in-person education. I am not criticizing the school, nor am I suggesting that it has not taken all the precautions to make students safe. I am only arguing that parents should not be forced to send their children to an environment that makes them feel unsafe simply because they once felt otherwise. My thesis:

Parents should have the ability to remove their East Pennsboro Area School District children from in-person Level II blended learning mid-marking period. Failing to allow parents this fundamental choice is unsafe, unethical, and unacceptable, and it will inevitably lead to dissatisfied parents and students, as well as an increased number of cases in Pennsylvania. By signing this petition, you are agreeing that parents should have a choice in whether their children continue to learn in an environment that makes them feel unsafe, and you feel that it is the right of every individual to decide after the fact that in-person education is not fit for his or her children.

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