Reopen Virginia Beach Public Schools

Reopen Virginia Beach Public Schools

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Alexis Reynolds started this petition to Superintendent Aaron Spence and

Virginia Beach School Board Superintendent Aaron Spence:

I think I speak for many when I say we are confused and feel strongly that our children need and have a right to be back in school. Dr. Fauci and The American Academy of Pediatrics, to name two sources that have been trusted throughout this pandemic, have said schools should remain open with mitigations. That within communities, schools should be the last thing to close. Yet here we are with bars open, restaurants open, stores open and packed with Christmas shoppers. 

I am not sure that within your bubble that you can see the hardship this is having on so many children's learning; especially the younger grades, lower income, dual working families and any child with a disability or needing special education. For example, besides special education, Kindergarteners, children who already suffer from ADHD,  and children with dual working parents who cannot afford to stay home and help, cannot learn on the computer like those who have the wonderful resource of a stay at home parent, nanny or tutor.  The gap between the child with a stay at home parent sitting there and helping opposed to another scenario continues to grow. Teachers cannot teach to that level, no matter how hard they try. Kids are depressed, frustrated, not advancing and mental health issues are real. These are many of the reasons The American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Fauci (along with many others) have said it is important schools remain open.

We are quickly approaching a year and I fear for the gap between public school and private school children of all ages. Private school has remained open and flourished for those who can afford it. The way it is now may be fine for parents who are hiring tutors, have a parent that can afford to stay at home and help their child navigate through this to be fully available as their teacher, or for older children who are capable of navigating this with little assistance and little to no impact on their mental health.

For those families who are not comfortable going to school, they can chose virtual or homeschool their children. I thought it was wonderful you offered that option. For the teachers who aren’t comfortable (not counting those who are immunocompromised or those who have family members in the household in that situation), I politely say to go to work or find another job. They are not above everyone else who has to go to their physical job or look elsewhere for something where they can work remotely. The majority of teaching is not a job that can be worked remotely, just like the very long list of things that are open for that same reason and expect their employees to be present if they would like to get paid. Everyone else is showing up, in their PPE, doing their jobs and part in wearing their masks and keeping their distance. Health care staff, everyday businesses, grocery stores, department stores, restaurant staff, public transportation, attorneys and their staff, realtors, mortgage companies, title companies, car dealerships, bars, recreational sports, daycares, private schools, tutoring centers .....these people are all at work. I refuse to believe that VBCPS is so unorganized and chaotic that they cannot handle the children in school, in masks. If there was data that the school system had a lot of cases that lead to a rapid spread, we were not notified about that as parents. The only articles I have ever seen are that it is not showing to spread through schools, but through community contact. With proper usage of PPE, the risk of transmission is low. 

I strongly encourage and actually beg you to reconsider your stance on this. I do not think it is fair that a decision so big, be placed on what one person believes with the help of their chosen public health officials. For every local healthcare worker you have found for your team to determine this, I could find another with the same credentials that disagrees. Which is why we should turn to what The American Academy of Pediatrics advises, put the mitigations the CDC referenced in place when applicable, and get the input of all families within the school system. 

Please give the families the choice to have their child attend school, just like there is the choice for private schools, daycares, tutoring centers and all of the businesses and services available in our city. 

Signed,

A very frustrated Virginia Beach family who wants their children to have the right to a proper education 

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