I am a student currently attending The Beekman School, a private high school located in New York City. Despite the school having the capabilities to shut down and use an online program, Zoom, that we can call and work on, Beekman’s board decided to follow the public school system in closing and the last time I checked, we are a private school, not a public school. They should be using their own discretion when it comes to closing the school, not the health department on whether the public schools close. Many other private schools in the city are shutting down and then taking online classes after spring break as a precaution because they care if the students get infected and want to try their best to prevent it. This is occurring with schools not only with school members that were infected, but also, where no one has been infected, so they wouldn’t risk the chance. However, Beekman isn’t taking this lead.
We need to take our own action as it can harm both the school’s students and faculty. The Beekman School must take the lead when it comes to the safety of students and not rely on other schools, and especially the public school system. As Beekman is a very small school, the virus could spread to the whole school in the matter of a few class periods. The public school system has kids from Pre-k through 12th grade with a lot of parents that aren’t at home to take care of their kids during school hours. As Beekman is a high school, all students are of age to stay at home, whether a parent/guardian is home or not. Furthermore, as Beekman is an electronic school, everyone has access to a device to do online schooling. This is also a major issue for the public school system, as many families cannot afford electronics, or, not afford enough for all their kids. In this, another student and I are making this petition urging the school to use their own capacities on whether we should use Zoom. Parents are worried that their children could get COVID-19, however, they don't want their kids to miss school and miss instruction time. What is the point of training students to use Zoom so soon if you find it unlikely if we are ever going to use it? Using Zoom wouldn’t negatively impact students’ performance. Even though students and some teachers have strong immune systems, anyone could pass the virus to family members with not as compromised immune systems which is most definitely not ideal. We urge Beekman’s board to think about the situation in the shoes of parents. Would they want their children to use public transportation where contact is easily made? As not every student has access to Ubers/Lyfts/Cabs/etc, the public transportation system makes it one of the easiest ways to catch and spread a virus or infection to others. With New York now being the highest infected state with COVID-19, it makes it super easy to catch and spread. As the vast majority of cases being in Westchester, the Metro-North, which is linked to Grand Central Station, makes it an even higher chance to spread disease. With 5 NYC subways and the Metro-North all in one area where transfers in trains are very, very common, the very crowded Grand Central is probably the most dangerous place to be in NYC. These are just a handful of reasons justifying why Beekman should close. In conclusion, Beekman should be closed and use online school.