Special-Needs Kids in Danger of Losing the Same Distance Learning Options

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Special-Needs Kids in Danger of Losing the Same Distance Learning Options

This petition made change with 498 supporters!
Jennifer Nunez started this petition to Governor Ron DeSantis and

We’re asking you to remember the well-being of the special-needs children in our state by ensuring their McKay Scholarship eligibility stays intact.

All families have been given three options by the school system in Florida. Our government and the Florida Department of Education understands it’s best to provide choices during these uncertain times. Some parents will decide to send their kids to school, some would rather keep their kids home to participate virtually, and some would prefer a mix of both. No parent or child should be penalized by selecting the option that’s best for their family.

There are many children with special needs that rely on the McKay Scholarship to attend a private school that can accommodate their individual needs. Unfortunately, the McKay Scholarship guidelines state that a child must be physically in school full-time, despite the temporary distance-learning options being offered. Since the McKay Scholarship made an exception for distance-learning at the end of the last school year, why wouldn’t this exception be continued when the school year begins again in August? While it’s true that schools will reopen, it will still be far from a normal school year. 

Granting this request will not cost any money for anyone. It will only keep the funds in place that have already been established for the children who need them. The threat of cutting off McKay funding for the most vulnerable children at this time would be extremely negligent and dangerous for everyone in the community. In order to avoid losing McKay eligibility, many parents would be forced to send their vulnerable kids to school, even while their non-disabled peers are allowed to continue distance-learning from home. 

Keep in mind that these are the kids who will have the most difficult time adhering to the rules of social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining proper hand hygiene. Compounding the problem would be forcing a greater number of children to be present in the classrooms, who could otherwise be home to help alleviate the burden faced by the teachers and staff. 

Let’s also remember, these children don’t live in a bubble. They often have a greater number of necessary caregivers, therapists, tutors and grandparents involved with their care. If these kids are unable to stay home, the numbers of Covid-19 will rise in their schools and among the people who care for them. The parents of these kids can be very vocal when it’s in the best interest of our children. We will make sure the public knows the reasons these kids could not stay home. It would be because Governor Ron DeSantis, The Florida Department of Education and other elected officials failed to ensure equal protections for precious, yet vulnerable kids.

The recent death of an 11 year old boy in Miami-Dade County was the youngest reported Covid death in our state. That child had underlying health conditions that made him more vulnerable. Special-needs children generally have greater numbers of underlying health conditions. Please allow parents to make the appropriate decisions for their children and the community around them by continuing McKay Scholarship eligibility to cover distance-learning. This would be in the best interest of everyone, including those in government that want to maintain their reputations of trying to do everything possible to protect the most vulnerable in our community. 

We appreciate your help and attention to this matter. We have confidence our elected officials will take the action in the best interest of everyone, by allowing the McKay Scholarship kids to choose the distance-learning option, while we are in Phase 2 of this pandemic. 

Thank you.

Victory

This petition made change with 498 supporters!

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