Reconsider Jefferson County Students Return to School On Campus September 1st

Reconsider Jefferson County Students Return to School On Campus September 1st

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Kevin Ulch started this petition to Jefferson County Students & Parents

Parents of Jefferson County School Systems Demand Quality Education for Their Children

 

On August 4th, 2020 the Jefferson County (Alabama) school board met, and at the recommendation of Dr. Walter Gonsulin,made the decision to remain virtual only for the first nine weeks.  This was in spite of 44% of survey respondents wishing for in school person learning.  While we appreciate Dr. Gonsoulin’s position we are petitioning the Board to reconsider the decision. 


The Jefferson County School Board was elected to represent the parents and the students.  The decision was not made in the best interest of either the students or the parents.  Studies have shown the effectiveness of online learning is mixed.  Good students are good students regardless of the method of instruction.  Marginal and below average students tend to fall further behind without face to face instruction.  Virtual learning will also thrust parents into the role of an educator.  This is not feasible for many parents due to lack of knowledge, time, or both.  If there really is no substitute for a professional educator, as we have been told for years, how can we be expected to believe that parents can provide the same quality education?

 

Dr. Gonsoulin wrote a letter “explaining” his recommendation.  In the opening paragraph he states: “Not to mention the extra time needed to complete the construction projects at several of our school locations.”  Why should our children suffer for his inability to effectively manage construction projects?

Dr. Gonsoulin states “Data and the advice of public health officials are the determining factors.”  What data and why was not shared?  High School sports teams have been practicing since June.  High School Bands have been practicing since the middle of July.  Except for the masks required while at school,these teenagers have not changed their behavior.  Has there been an outbreak?  

He has also cited advice from public health officials.  The CDC has been clear on their belief in the need for public schools to reopen and the limited risk involved.  The governor and state health officer have also stated their belief is that students need to be in school.  The only “public health official” that has advocated for virtual over in-person is Jefferson County’s health officer, Dr. Mark Wilson.  Dr. Wilson is an internist by training and an administrator by profession.  First at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and now as the head of Jefferson County’s health department.  What credentials does Dr. Wilson have that should supersede all other guidance?  Mr. Wilson recently released a “Jefferson County Covid-19 Rumor page.  Within that page he used the authoritative guidance of Snopes.Com and USA Today; does that sound like an expert on public health?

We petition you to reconsider your decision, or at the very least have a meaningful discussion with real facts and data presented.

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