Call for change to 2021-2022 COVID-19 policy

Student appeals for reworking of district's new COVID-19 protocol.

November 17, 2021

During the 2021-2022 school year, Cy-Fair Independent School District (CFISD) has an unorganized COVID-19 policy. In the 2020-2021 school year, CFISD relied on online courses, contact tracing, requiring students to wear masks while being six feet apart, and monitoring class and event sizes. However, with the new delta variant and no need to be fully vaccinated or wear masks on campus, students are still getting COVID-19. CFISD needs to rework its COVID-19 policies in order to guarantee the safety and education of its students.

When a student gets COVID-19, they are supposed to stay home and self-isolate for at least ten days. While last year that procedure worked well for class content because of Zoom calls and Schoology, CFISD’s remote learning software, it doesn’t benefit students this year. Because there are no Zoom calls or ways to learn directly from a teacher remotely, students are missing out on being taught face-to-face, and they aren’t allowed to take relevant applications or summative assessments whilst at home. Major grades like that are counted as Z’s, which are incomplete grades and factor into averages as zeros. They are expected to simply copy down any notes that are posted within their courses, but just taking notes doesn’t mean that a student understands the content. There is more to education besides taking notes, and in the span of two weeks, a lot of content can be missed. Ultimately, this leaves students behind in their courses – both numerically and content-wise.

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Secondly, there is no contact tracing this year. The only thing the district sends out when someone gets COVID-19 is an email to parents stating that an individual in one of their kid’s classes or electives tested positive, along with the last day they were at school. That doesn’t narrow things down for students or allow them to self-isolate. With classes, up to 35 people in them and seven classes a day, the person who got COVID-19 could be anyone or anywhere. Additionally, it doesn’t give notice to kids who sit with one another at lunch. COVID-19 can spread to others within six feet, and with all students back in classes and lunches being at almost full capacity, COVID-19 can spread fast.

Finally, when it comes to absences and returning to school, students don’t need to show proof of a positive or negative COVID-19 test. They also aren’t told what day to come back. All they need is a signed note from their parents stating that they had it. This can mean that students can basically take two weeks off of school with parental consent and say it was COVID-19. It also means that students could come back too early from having COVID-19 and infect classmates without meaning to.

While some people argue that changing these policies can make the school year feel restricting and overwhelming to students with or without COVID-19, it is important to think about their health and education first. There is still a global pandemic occurring, and no one chooses to get COVID-19. As a whole, CFISD needs to be accommodating for students and their families during these times, and focus less on returning to normalcy so fast.

In order to fix this, CFISD should start requiring students to show proof of testing positive. Additionally, students should have the ability to learn in a more face-to-face way when absent. Doing things like providing video services for absent kids, such as Khan Academy videos for math classes or a mini video lesson about what students need to know for the classes they missed could greatly help kids. Ultimately, to help ensure the safety and education of students, CFISD needs to rework its COVID-19 policy.

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