KES Parents Petition to School Board for In Person Learning with Remote Options

KES Parents Petition to School Board for In Person Learning with Remote Options

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Vanessa Rozier started this petition to Parents of KES

As (the undersigned) parents of KES children, we would like to express appreciation and support of the ongoing efforts to prioritize a return to in-person learning.  Thank you all for your continued efforts to create a plan that allows this to happen.
 
In support of our children returning to in-person learning, we urge the Kensington District School Board to consider having Kensington Elementary take the reopening approach that was presented and recommended by the SAU-16 in July 2020.  This approach was based on alignment with the CDC and AAP recommendations, and created specific conditions based on the current state of the pandemic.  Following that plan/approach, we would be in the lower risk “Condition 3” opening which would offer both in-person and remote options.  
 
Parents were led to believe that a presentation for all options was to be presented at the August school board meeting, but that meeting did not afford the opportunity of the presentation or for the public to make comments thereon.  We would like the option to review and choose to follow this plan if all necessary components are in place for the Kensington Elementary School.  If any components needed to move forward with this plan are not in place, or will not be within a few weeks, we would like to understand what those are and have the chance to discuss them with full transparency.
 
The basis for this petition is as follows:

1.) The current guidance from the Governor of New Hampshire is for in-person learning; the New Hampshire COVID cases remain low and the hospitals unencumbered with excess patient cases and our cases in Kensington remain at zero

2.) It is our understanding that, per a poll that the KES staff had taken earlier in the summer, over 80% of staff were willing to come back to in-person learning

3.) Per a poll of SAU 16 parents, over 80% of parents were in favor of a return to in-person learning

4.) Remote learning presents a hardship to multiple families in the school system

5.)  KES has completed the necessary HVAC upgrades and is awaiting the delivery and installation of the final HVAC ionic component

6.) Reopening to an in-person learning model is what the KES teachers and parents all recognize is the best way to keep children engaged and progressing both socially and academically; academic experts concur

7.) Scientific /medical recommendations from the AAP and CDC support reopening, and KES has reported that the necessary resources are available to teach in-person classes while also taking reasonable safety measures

8.) Health data indicates that K-5 aged children have a minimal risk from COVID (less than from influenza), but a substantial risk from other conditions worsened by isolation and school changes; we wish to concentrate on and address all risks facing children (see AAP guidelines, and CDC statements about increasing suicide rates, depression, and drug abuse) by removing remote-learning stressors on families unless proven to be warranted

9.) Initial international studies strongly indicate that children are not significant transmitters of COVID to their families and communities, and as such this "potential" threat should not be used as a strong decision-making factor to avoid reopening

10.) KES is ready to reopen with in-person learning formats, we do not believe it is responsible for our community to delay based on a waiting period for the district as a whole to move forward together, as long as solutions around transportation and any other issues can be reached by the community

 
Given the above considerations, in the absence of governmental orders for shutdown (reflecting surging COVID 19 cases in New Hampshire), and in the absence of hospitals becoming overwhelmed to the point of adequate care for COVID patients not being accessible (and thus increasing COVID risk of death) to the community, we ask that the Kensington District School Board authorize KES to present the reopening plans as recommended in the July SAU 16 presentation and proceed with in-person classes starting October 12th.
 
If this plan is not agreed to by the KES school board, we then request an open-invite meeting with the school board and KES parents that clearly presents an alternative plan that the majority of parents agree is acceptable and reasonable in its proposal and outlined metrics and/or staged progression. 
 
We appreciate your consideration of our concerns, and we recognize that the school board has made every effort to handle this tremendously challenging and novel circumstance. There are no perfect answers, but we see that you’ve all been trying to do the best for our children and our community that you possibly can. Please let us help you to reach the goals we share for the current and long-term well beingwellbeing of our children, our school staff and our community at large.
 


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