My name is Sienna Jorgensen, and I’m an 8th grader at Stanley Middle School. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to face many struggles that we had never faced before in our lives, and that our parents and grandparents had never faced either.
For those of us who need to be in school full time, safely, for our mental and academic needs, I urge you to join me and fight to make this option a reality. And for those of you who feel most safe and effective studying remotely, I want you to have access to that option as well.
Some of these struggles that I have personally experienced are: being stuck in my room all day, staring at a computer screen for hours on end, not being able to see my friends and family very easily, and not having the chance to interact and really connect with my teachers in person. I struggle with feeling motivated frequently, although I usually have many reasons to feel motivated. An additional challenge has been trying to understand that other kids around the US and the world are having a much tougher time than me. I would try to tell myself that the challenges I faced were small in comparison and shouldn’t matter as much. When I got to a point where I felt exhausted, lost, and frustrated…I couldn’t tell if that was purely because of the COVID pandemic or some other reason. I had to give up my biggest passion, theater, which was an activity that I really loved and enjoyed. It was a time to socially interact with my friends and have something to look forward to after school.
These are only a few examples of the things that have been tough for me this past year.
In the fall of 2020, when we were told that schools were staying shut down and all of our favorite activities were cancelled or only available on zoom, I was really disappointed. I understood it was necessary because keeping everyone safe was a higher priority than everything else. My heart went out to the people who were really sick.
At that point, my mom set up “outdoor classrooms” for my siblings and I. Our outdoor classrooms consist of 6 foot long tables with chairs on each end under a tent. We are allowed to work with one friend, spaced 7 feet apart for our zoom calls. This helped me feel more connected and less alone. It also helped me with my ADHD symptoms - which kept me focused and motivated to get my work done. Zoom calls for someone like me who has an ADHD diagnosis adds additional struggles and stress than being in-person for school.
I have put together this petition to give kids a voice. What I have learned from school, is that when (and if) a government is not doing their absolute best to protect a citizen’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…the citizens have a constitutional right and obligation to petition that government. I am encouraging all of you to practice that right by advocating for what’s best for us (the kids in this community and all communities). The good news is, we have the scientists and top medical experts supporting this cause.