Stop In-Person Instruction in Paulding County Schools

Stop In-Person Instruction in Paulding County Schools

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Jamie Sebastian started this petition to Paulding County School District

The mission statement of the Paulding County School District is to “Engage. Inspire. Prepare.” One of the core beliefs of the school district is that “students thrive best when provided a safe, challenging, and healthy environment.”

On August 3rd, 2020 Paulding County Schools began the 2020-2021 school year with in-person instruction and a photo of a crowded North Paulding High School hallway went viral on social media. Since then, the response from Superintendent Brian Otott has proven that Paulding County is not taking appropriate action to keep students and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are demanding that Paulding County schools cancel all in-person instruction and resume virtual learning until schools can reopen safely and responsibly.

The CDC has released guidelines for schools who wish to reopen for in-person instruction, but Paulding County Schools have not followed these guidelines. It is recommended that students and staff should wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19. Superintendent Otott has stated that “wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them.” Not only is this a blatant lie, as there are plenty of practical ways to enforce mask use, it shows that Paulding County is not respecting the health and safety of the community. It has also been recommended that students and staff should maintain physical distancing. The school district has stated that physical distancing is nearly impossible in certain situations such as on school buses or within the hallways.

Furthermore, The United States and Georgia have not slowed the spread of COVID-19 to a point where students can return to school safely. Studies have shown that virus transmission between school-aged children is low, but this data is only applicable in areas where community transmission is low. Transmission also increases if proper precautions, such as the guidelines expressed by the CDC, are not followed.

We cannot allow in-person instruction in Paulding County schools to resume until it is safe to do so. As shown above, the Paulding County School District is not prepared for safe in-person instruction and must return to virtual learning only. While in-person instruction provides students with a variety of benefits, the health and safety of the community should be our first priority.

 

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