Topic

COVID-19 Community Spread

252 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Dr. Lori Bein, Brian Cerniglia, Scott Filipek, Erin Johannesen, Chad Conley, Gina Faso, Rich Olejniczak, Anisha Ismail Patel

AHSD25: Inform parents of positive COVID-19 cases in the classroom

Whether you believe our children should be in school full-time, part-time, or not at all, we all agree that parents have a right to know if there is a positive COVID-19 case in our child's classroom. Currently, Arlington Heights School District 25 is only notifying close contacts (which are few since, in hybrid school, six-foot social distancing is maintained) and the entire school but without specificity regarding which classroom. Unlike other school districts, AHSD25 is not notifying parents of a positive case in their child’s classroom. The student who sits next to our child all day, six hours a day, could test positive, and we would not be informed. Simply stated, parents have a right to know that someone in our child's classroom has tested positive. Not notifying parents is problematic because as much as staff may try to do contact tracing, there is no guarantee that children did not interact with each other or that staff remembers every interaction from previous days. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a six-foot distance eliminates all spread of COVID. Children spaced six feet and one inch apart does not guarantee that this airborne virus will not spread. The information regarding the presence of a case in a classroom should be shared with parents. Well informed parents can make decisions if they have this information: 1)    Knowledge of a positive case allows us to be even more in-tune to potential symptoms and can put us on notice to keep our child home if anything at all is concerning 2)    Knowledge of potential exposure can allow us to make better informed decisions regarding isolation from family who have pre-existing, comorbid conditions to COVID. Not only are other schools proactively informing parents of positive COVID cases in their child’s classroom – they are flipping classrooms to remote upon a single positive case in order to ensure that schools remain relatively free of community spread. The current proposal to only flip classrooms upon 5 positive cases is concerning. This means in a class of 20 students, 20% of the class could have COVID and parents would not be informed. It is both ironic and irresponsible that AHSD25 would inform a parent if there were that many flu, strep, or hand-foot-and-mouth cases in the classroom – but AHSD25 will not inform a parent if there are that many potentially-deadly COVID cases in a child’s classroom. Furthermore, it is unconscionable that the district would require 25% of the kids in a classroom to get COVID before it flips that classroom to remote. We are living in a global pandemic, and we all have a responsibility to stop the spread. Waiting until there are five cases in a classroom will lead to school based spread of COVID and may have been the cause of the recent outbreak at Thomas Middle School that resulted in 29 cases in less than two months that required the Cook County Health Department to strongly recommend the school be closed. If there is a case, the classroom should flip to remote and parents should be informed so more people are not exposed. We call on Dr. Lori Bein, superintendent of the Arlington Heights School District 25, to immediately change the parental notification policy and begin informing parents of a positive COVID 19 case in their child's classroom. Furthermore, we urge the Arlington Heights School Board to change its policy regarding when to flip a classroom to remote so if there is a single case, out of an abundance of caution and desire to keep schools safe, to flip a classroom to remote for a full quarantine period.

Nathan Ulery
239 supporters