The Erase the Board Coalition Lobbies OPSB To Reinstate Virtual Learning Option

The Erase the Board Coalition today challenged NOLA-PS Superintendent Henderson Lewis and the OPSB members to give parents the ultimate choice by re-introducing virtual learning as an option for Orleans Parish students.

Coalition members believe that virtual learning is the only option. Forcing children to attend in school classes will put children and their families at unreasonable risk. Currently virtual learning is only available for students with certain medical conditions.

Since virtual learning took place during the last school year, Coalition members feel NOLA-PS should be prepared to implement it again with better results.

The safety of students is the top priority and can be accomplished in part by utilizing PPP funds to clean and sanitize the schools on an pinging basis.

In fact, NOLA-PS newly released their second weekly COVID report for the new school year later indicated that 5.89% (3004) student and staff members are currently under quarantine for exposure to the virus.

Despite the fact that some schools are only opening this week, active cases more than doubled from 116 to 300 last week. Erase the Board parents argued that NOLA-PS could not adequately project how high cases might climb.

Warren Easton Charter School has the highest active cases and quarantine count with 57 individuals exposed and 21 testing positive. Kipp Morial Charter School had 17 active cases last week and 362 students and staff in quarantine.

Besides Kipp Morial, three other schools have more than 200 individuals in quarantine – Ben Franklin Elementary Nashville campus, Kipp East and Andrew Wilson Charter School.

More than 100 students and staff also are under quarantine at an additional dozen charter schools.

Speakers at Erace the Board’s press conference included concerned parents and teachers. One third grade teacher said it was “not fair” to put teachers and students at risk by attending in-person classes.

A parent stressed that it was important to the health and safety of all concerned to address the matter immediately.

Daniel Zimmerman, a parent of two boys attending the International School said he didn’t understand why virtual learning, which was an option last year when COVID was less dangerous, is not available this year when the Delta variant is causing so many cases among young children and teens.

Zimmerman withdrew his son from taking the Leap test because he didn’t want the child to get COVID.  Instead his son received a zero test score. Zimmerman said he has made a Freedom of Information request to see what percentage of parents also refused to have their children take the test.

He suspects the percentage might have risen from 1% to 2%. Either way there will is little debate that learning loss was significant last year.

“Only 14% of children over 12 are fully vaccinated,” explained Zimmerman. “Our pediatric hospitals are overwhelmed. Kids can’t learn if they are on a ventilator. The Delta variant has not even peaked yet.” Zimmerman is also concerned about unvaccinated parents.

“Virtual learning will give parents piece of mind,” Zimmerman concluded.

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