Statement Against Reopening JCPS for In-Person School
Note: The statement below is the opinion I have crafted for my family. It does, however, represent the majority of the feedback I am currently capable of receiving from LPAS parents, which is limited.
In late December, JCPS revealed a plans for reopening school for in-person learning, both district-wide (entitled “A New Way Forward”) and individual school plans. Read them here: https://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/planning-jcps-reopening.
With the vaccine rolling out and the majority of teachers being vaccinated - these plans are very close to being enacted, should the School Board choose.
And twice now, the School Board has shown a deference to public pressure instead of science - while freely admitting they aren’t qualified to make these decisions! So please do your own due diligence, ask questions, or ask the School Board to, I don’t know - trust experts instead of public opinion?
I want to get back to school. I want to support this plan. If the board wasn’t going to do the research, someone had to. So, I dove in.
First, there are some School Board members who are presenting evidence and voting no. Chief among them is District 2’s Chris Kolb, who has published the research he’s done and presented to the board here. It’s a must-read, largely because it’s the only read I’m seeing from Board members.
Now, I’m not a medical expert, but luckily I happen to know a couple of medical doctors with first-hand experience around COVID protocols for schools and how coronavirus spreads. One created the successful in-person protocols for a local parochial school and the other an epidemiologist who studied the coronavirus (before it was “cool”).
They are both very concerned with re-opening right now with this plan. Both of them have reviewed the JCPS plan against the recent CDC guidelines - and both say there are major gaps in JCPS’ plan and the community itself don’t meet the standards of safety. In JCPS’ case - they can’t possibly. And in Lousiville’s case, they haven’t. With their critical insights and the measured opinions of a number of friends, I’ve crafted the email and statement below.
Below is the email and the statement I sent to the JCPS School Board members today, in opposition of reopening JCPS in-person under the current timeline and JCPS plan.
You can read my full statement here: Ben Wilson - Statement on In-Person School Plan 2021.01.29
My name is Ben Wilson. I am the parent of two JCPS students, a third grader at LPAS and a sixth grader at Noe Middle School. I am also an SBDM Parent Representative for LPAS and the LPAS current cross-country coach for 50+ students. Professionally, I am a marketing strategist, and spend much of my time interviewing and researching complex, difficult challenges.
I felt it necessarily - both personally and in a representative capacity - to do my due diligence on this subject. Speaking personally for my family, I am presenting my position to you in the attached statement.
There is confusion in the public sphere - confusion from a lack of leadership which has fallen at your doorstep. But this - by your own admission - is not a decision you are qualified to make. As Ms. Duncan stated, regarding winter sports:
“We should not be sitting here making these medical decisions.” “I think the medical community should be the one telling us what we should be doing and shouldn’t be doing.”
I cannot agree more. I appreciate the weight of the decision you are being asked to make - but this is not a matter to be left to public opinion or pressure.
Listen to the doctors, the scientists, the CDC. The virus is still spreading rapidly in our community. The current JCPS and individual school plans - and the wider community’s preventative measures - are not up to par.
Please vote NO on reopening in-person before these issues are mitigated.
The emails for the current JCPS School Board are here: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org