Provide an In-Person Learning Option for Lower School at Lab School

Provide an In-Person Learning Option for Lower School at Lab School

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Zareen Gauhar started this petition to Laboratory School of Chicago

Provide an In-Person Learning Option for Lower School at Lab School
 
The recent announcement of fully remote learning for lower school (and higher) for the fall season is creating unprecedented challenges for families. The negative impact on children due to school closures is already well documented and goes beyond the educational impact. As long as the state of Illinois allows for reopening of schools, we believe that by implementing social distancing guidelines and risk mitigation strategies to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and families, an in-person plan is feasible and should be provided as an option to the lower school students.
 
In emphasis, we strongly believe that in-person option should be provided for 3rd grade students who are under the age of 10 and for other grades who are at a critical transition period in their educational life. 
 
The ongoing challenges of education during a pandemic make the partnership with families more critical than ever. We have been told that a minority of families and teachers (25%) would prefer the remote-only option. Original communication from Lab stated that “three program options for fall to ensure maximum flexibility to adapt to evolving public health guidelines and prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of the Lab community: fully remote, a hybrid program that combines remote and in-person, and fully in-person.”
 
We believe that offering solutions to families and staff for these 3 program options allows for the best course forward. Many peer institutions in the city of Chicago are offering in-person options and we fail to understand why Lab School is unable to offer in-person and/or hybrid approach as well.
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for reopening schools states that it “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” It also states “Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within schools must be balanced with the known harms to children, adolescents, families, and the community by keeping children at home.”
 
All the recent studies about COVID in children come with caveats and at present, there is no certainty about the extent of transmission of COVID among children – in particular, when risk mitigation strategies have been employed. Per the AAP, “COVID-19 policies are intended to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk.”
 
We, parents, educators, teachers, urge you to reconsider this critical decision for the upcoming 2020-2021 year and be willing to work with parents to create solutions that are in accordance with state guidelines and safety considerations.
 
Thank you for reconsidering.
 

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