Brian Madson 20

JPII Parent Concerns and Requests

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The following document is requesting:

  • Shanley students return to full time In-Classroom learning January 11th
  • Upon return, Shanley not follow current quarantine practices at elementary or Sullivan Middle School
  • Post on JPII website weekly COVID-19 case counts, etc.
  • Parent surveys – include more pertinent questions and share the results to all stakeholders

In the September 15th letter JPII announced a change for Shanley to switch to Modified In-School Learning (Hybrid) “as transmission of COVID-19 increases locally”. No reference was made about COVID-19 cases within Shanley. The September 29th letter stated, “As we monitor both school and local conditions, we have decided to continue Modified-In-School Learning”. Actual COVID-19 case numbers within JPII schools were not provided. The October 20th letter states “Teachers and students have increasingly adapted to this model of learning and the opportunities it provides. Because of this success and the increasing COVID-19 transmission in Cass County, we have decided to continue in the Hybrid Model.” We as parents disagree referring to the Hybrid Model a success, at least for not all students.

The November 13th letter to JPII Community states “To date, we have only experienced a few positive cases in our students and staff populations.” “Our positive student case count for the entire year is 2.6%”. The November 20th letter states, “Upon close evaluation of our situation, we have determined the hybrid model at Shanley High School is most appropriate to continue for the remainder of the semester.” An explanation of the situation does not include COVID-19 case counts at JPII or feedback from parents about the challenges our Shanley students are dealing with due to Hybrid. Unlike the previous letters, the December 17th letter does not provide a re-evaluation date for returning to in classroom learning. It does not reference COVID-19 case counts at JPII or Shanley specifically as a reason for this extension.

Following Governor Burgum’s executive orders, or State, County, or City laws, is never cited in the letters as a reason to change from In-School Learning to Hybrid or continue with Hybrid. We appreciate JPII staying with In-School Learning for our elementary schools and Sullivan Middle School despite increases and now decreases of COVID-19 cases in Cass County. From the beginning of Hybrid to current, we wanted this same opportunity for our Shanley students and disagree Hybrid during this time was necessary and best for our Shanley children.

Trinity Catholic Schools in Dickinson has had in school learning at all education levels since the beginning of the school year. Trinity did not have a mask mandate until November 14th when it was implemented due to Governor Burgum’s executive order. COVID-19 accumulative cases in Cass County per 10,000 as reported by ND is 1,092 and in Stark County (county Dickinson is in) 1,289*. Cass County’s active cases (as of 1/01/21) are 23 per 10,000 and Stark 25. Trinity is a good comparison for JPII since it is a Catholic school with similar stakeholders as JPII, but also its school population is much closer in size to JPII compared to the Fargo and West Fargo public schools.

We request the following:

  • As parents of our Shanley students we understand the risk of acquiring COVID-19 and potential consequences, including death, to our children. As of 1/1/21 ND reports 0 deaths from COVID-19 for children 0-14 and 1 from 15-19. Tab to page 4 from https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coro... In ND in 2019 every 52 days one teen died of a vehicle crash. https://visionzero.nd.gov/strategies/YoungDrivers Thus, during a nine-month period (roughly 2020 pandemic time frame) 5 teens would have died. We understand there are risks in multiple areas that may be detrimental to our children. Let us choose for our children to be in the classroom fulltime.
  • JPII continues to quarantine at elementary and middle school levels entire classrooms if a student tests positive for COVID-19 despite North Dakota’s Guidance for Quarantine and Mask Use announced on 9/30/20. Fargo Public School among others changed their policy in early October. We believe JPII’s approach is overly conservative and should not be implemented at Shanley upon return to In-School learning and modified at JPII’s other schools following Fargo Public Schools approach to quarantining.
  • JPII has not been transparent in providing new, active, and recovered COVID-19 case numbers for JPII students and staff. The schools below have made this information available. · Trinity Catholic Schools https://trinitycatholicschools.com/covid-19-update... Fargo Public Schools https://www.fargo.k12.nd.us/domain/509 · West Fargo Public Schools https://www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us/Page/7818 We are asking for this information as it is important for parents and all Stakeholders and is possible as demonstrated by Trinity, FPS, and WFPS.
  • In October Shanley sent out a parent survey but did not have questions specific to: 1) The decision to switch to Hybrid on September 13 and subsequent decisions to continue Hybrid 2) The effectiveness of our children learning this fall in Hybrid 3) If conditions for our children have changed: such has physical, mental, or emotional during Hybrid 4) If parents would send their children to Shanley for 100% in classroom learning at the current levels of COVID-19 cases (at time of survey) in Shanley and JPII or at other various levels of COVID-19 cases at Shanley and JPII

By not asking questions as outlined above we conclude JPII does not want our input in these areas.

Results for each question in the October 2020 survey have not been shared but should be provided to parents as Stakeholders. JPII asked us to take the time to complete surveys but do not share the results. The following is an example of providing results of a parent survey: https://www.fargo.k12.nd.us/cms/lib/ND01911460/Cen...

Prior to the 2020 – 2021 school year, JPII offered parents and students the option of Distance Learning due to any concerns they may have about COVID-19 health risks. They had a choice, but parents who want their Shanley children in the classroom had the choice taken away starting in September. We believe Shanley should have continued In-School Learning and if parents had concerns about continuing in the classroom, they could have transitioned their children to Distance Learning.

We understand these are trying times and there are many challenges for JPII administrative leaders. Our leaders without children of their own in Shanley do not have the same visibility we do as parents to Shanley children and the negative impact and lack of education Hybrid has had on our kids. It is natural for JPII medical advisors to err on the side of caution in their guidance, as any adverse consequences of continuing with In-School Learning and never changing to Hybrid, if came to fruition, may reflect negatively on them.

The tone from recent Shanley letters is that we should continue Hybrid in part “to protect the most vulnerable, support healthcare and long-term care workers, protect our families”. As parents, it is our role to ensure our children and ourselves are behaving responsibly for the fore mentioned groups. Our children’s education and well-being should not be sacrificed by continuing Hybrid to protect these groups.

We would ask that Shanley return to In-School Learning January 11th. This date will provide additional time after Christmas and New Years for symptoms or positive COVID-19 tests to be identified.

* 1/1/21 reported by Health.nd.gov/disease-conditions/coronavirus/north-dakota-coronaviurs-cases taking the total cumulative cases for each county divided by Cass and Stark County 2019 populations as reported at census.gov divided by 10,000.

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