Open Lee's Summit LSR7 Schools
We, as parents, teachers and residents of Lee’s Summit, want the option to have the schools in LSR7 open full-time (five days a week) for our children, K-12. We support mask-wearing and other precautions to be implemented, as well as distance learning options for immunocompromised students and teachers. We would like to see the district make public its inclusion of expert opinion including the Jackson County Health Department, in addition to experts in other fields of study relevant to administering a community based public education institution. The risks from Covid-19 are but one source of risk facing our community at this time.
Dr. Redfield, Director of the CDC, has publicly warned of the very significant public health consequences of continued school closures. According to Dr. Redfield, over 7 million children in the United States receive both their mental health services and nutritional services from the public school system. Additionally, our country is seeing alarming increases in youth suicides and youth overdose deaths that can only logically be tied to prolonged closure of school and youth activity. While COVID itself may present less statistical risk to children than influenza, prolonged school closures are likely to result in death, mental health deterioration, and substantial educational gaps. The long term consequences of prolonged school closures will not be known for some time, but we do know that right now some children are at risk due to the Jackson County HD decision to focus exclusively on Covid risks. We know that right now some children are suffering alone in abusive environments with no lifeline. We know that many children are being left behind educationally as their parents haven’t the financial resources for private schools or tutors. We know that some children are going without proper nutrition that they would usually receive from their public school. And as parents, we know that the mental health of our children is deteriorating every day they are prevented from accessing their schools and activities.
In light of the June survey in which 79% of parents selected to send their children back to school full-time for the 2020-21 school year, we would like the LSR7 School Board to support and represent this number by giving us the option of sending our children back to school full-time. The district should make public the most recent declarations as well in the interest of transparency.
While we as parents and teachers are completely aware of any inherent risks of Covid-19 on our children and staff, our children’s health—their mental and physical health as a whole being—is our top priority. We want there to be an option for staff and children K-12 to return to school five days a week based on a balance of the factors described in this petition, plus any other the district feels are relevant. The decision to go back to school full time, learn distantly or otherwise should be made by each individual family on a case by case basis. We urge the LSR7 School Board to revise their plan and represent the majority of parents in LSR7. Finally, we request that any further communication to the community include a cost benefit analysis that compares the risks of COVID to the risks from NOT returning to school.