Urge California Schools Back Online
Urge California Schools Back Online
Why this petition matters
We all understand why politicians, legislators, families, educators, and loved ones want their K-12 students to remain in classrooms, and in-person learning. However, currently with the massive surge in COVID-19 cases due to Omicron and other variants of COVID-19, the risks outweigh the benefits.
At Northgate High School (a school of about 1,500 students), in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, there were 8 positive reported cases alone from the first day back of school from Winter Break. The next day the number more than doubled to 17. Just today 300 students remained home due to close contact, or out of FEAR of catching the virus. At this rate where will we be by the end of next week? Or the end of the month?
Across this school district, and across the state of California, more and more K-12 schools are seeing similar problems or about to see them, as classes resume from the holidays. Across the Bay Area and throughout the state, many schools and districts are being forced to close due to limited staff and COVID-19 outbreaks.
While we understand the social-emotional and mental risks associated with online learning — are we really doing much better if we don’t feel safe coming to school? We all have loved ones we have to protect.
Of course, vaccinations and the widespread provision of at-home rapid tests for students have been extremely beneficial. However, many students/staff still remain unvaccinated, and those who have gotten every shot possible are still testing positive (to be clear, please continue doing this—those that are becoming sick while vaccinated and boosted are at much less risk of serious cases and dying!!).
At-home tests were helpful, but not equitably distributed throughout the state. In some places, like in Sacramento, they weren’t even distributed before school started up again. Of the 6 million COVID-19 tests promised to students, by Gov. Gavin Newsom, only half arrived to schools and districts (as of Monday). In a recent study conducted by researchers at MedRxiv, they discovered that these rapid at-home tests may not detect the Omicron variant early in infection (even when a person is able to spread the virus to others). This is a concern because the variant is spreading so quickly without people even knowing. Additionally, in some places, like at Northgate High School, they have completely run out of tests and now only offer PCR tests which are only available twice a week and not accessible for all. They can also take days for results to come back.
Within communities it is extremely difficult to find testing and even, in some cases, to get appointments for vaccines/booster shots. Many pharmacies have been selling at-home tests so rapidly that they are out of stock in-store, for delivery, and online. Finding a lab PCR test, or rapid test appointment at these places (or other pop-up/drive-through Covid testing sites) can be difficult because they are in such high demand.
Most people are doing everything they can to stop the spread, and yes many have made (and unfortunately continue to make) poor decisions. But sometimes people do everything right and still get sick.
How can we learn if we are too sick to come to school, and have no instruction provided online for us? How can we learn if there aren’t enough teachers (who are already being underpaid for the amount of work they’re doing, by the way) or substitute teachers to teach those of us who are able to come to school? And how can we learn when our minds are so focused on trying to remain healthy and keep those around us safe?
Yes, as a collective sometimes students hate coming to school. We hated online school—let’s be real, we missed our friends. But we would certainly rather not see our teachers, staff, friends, and family members become ill due to the fact that ignorant people are making such big decisions about our daily lives. IE, people who have no business making decisions about whether we should be in school or not because they’re too consumed with the idea of getting more votes at the next election.
Students, families, friends, educators, and staff, I urge you to sign this petition so that we can have the opportunity to move back to online learning, even if just for the time being. It would likely only take a few weeks of online learning for this to be back under control.
We urge you—CA state politicians, our governor, and those who have an impact in these decisions to give schools the opportunity to return to online, virtual learning.
Thank you. Stay safe and healthy.
Link to MedRxiv study: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.04.22268770v1
Link to Article explaining MedRxiv study: https://www.livescience.com/rapid-test-accuracy-omicron-coronavirus-infections
Link to Article about CA State-Provided Test Distributions to Schools: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-03/students-return-to-california-schools-newsom-promise-for-covid-19-tests-remains-unfulfilled?_amp=true
Link to Article About Covid-Related School Closures within the Bay Area: https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/06/covid-bay-area-schools-close-due-to-staff-shortages-high-case-rates/amp/