Springfield Public Schools MA will remain remote to protect students, families, and staff.

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Springfield Public Schools MA will remain remote to protect students, families, and staff.

This petition made change with 554 supporters!
Brittany Blake-Franklin started this petition to Springfield Public School Committee and

I have been a proud teacher in Springfield Public Schools for going on nine years now. I have been proud of how we take on the issues our students face daily: poverty, food insecurity, housing issues, mental health needs...you name it and the teachers and schools in Springfield, MA have stood up for change. We have always wanted the best for our students because they are our best hope for the brightest future possible.

Now we are faced with a heart-wrenching and extremely difficult decision: Do we go remote in the fall, do we go in person, or do we return with a hybrid model?

As cases across our great state and our nation continue to rise, as the life-debilitating effects of this virus are still being uncovered, as children from summer camps are bringing home this deadly disease to their families and loved ones--we have to pause and ask ourselves when is enough, enough?

We teachers are ready for the fight of equitable, online learning. Is it ideal? Absolutely not--we love our students and seeing those moments of learning face-to-face is a life experience unlike any other--but we cannot be selfish. We have to set aside how things have always been done and use this as the incredible opportunity that it is--it is a chance to re-create education, not just in Springfield, but across Massachusetts and maybe even across the United States of America. But again, the decision has to be made. We must remain remote. 

According to CDC data, perhaps only .02% of students will die from Covid-19. According to my heart and the hearts of teachers throughout our city, the only acceptable number there is ZERO. It is unconscionable that we ask our students to enter back into buildings, where the HVAC systems haven't been updated in decades, and attempt to learn --when they will know that every breath they take inside the buildings has the potential to carry a viral load that could kill them and their loved ones at home. 

Students can only learn when they are not being subjected to trauma. If they are in a situation where their brains perceive that there is danger, they are scientifically incapable of retaining what they are taught. If we go back, there will be no small group work, no art projects, no team sports, no sitting next to the teacher to get help--some of the best parts of the school day just simply are not safe. *

We have a better chance to make gains if we adopt the remote learning plan. We have a better chance to not attend student and faculty funerals if we adopt the remote learning plan. We have a better chance at more equitable education for all Springfield's children if we adopt the remote learning plan.

We absolutely will miss those in-school moments that cannot be replicated perfectly over the internet, and someday we will absolutely go back to in-person learning...but we should not go back until it is safe for everyone.

Thank you. 

*Source: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

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