Texas High School Students Want More COVID Protections

Jan. 31, 2022

As the Omicron variant surges across Texas, learners at public higher faculties are turning to petition drives and walkouts in an exertion to get school districts to require additional COVID-19 protocols, The Texas Tribune reviews.

The pupils are asking for a return to face mask regulations or an growth of virtual studying. In some scenarios they want faculty districts to temporarily shut down through the surge.

“We could be accomplishing a lot more, and we’re picking out not to [in order] to keep open, at any price tag, and by any signifies needed,” Tiernee Pitts, a protest leader and senior at Cedar Ridge High Faculty in the Round Rock Impartial University District, informed The Texas Tribune. “It just feels like we’re just being open although every little thing all around us is falling down.”

Because university restarted soon after the winter season holiday seasons there have been 192,145 college student COVID-19 situations and 61,142 personnel situations, The Tribune explained, citing the Texas Education and learning Company. That appears to be the optimum scenario stage because the start off of the pandemic.

In the Fort Bend college district, extra than 200 pupils have signed a petition asking colleges to be shut down all through the surge. One of people learners, Jada Clerk, a freshman at William B. Travis Higher School, mentioned she has bronchial asthma and that walking down hallways among unmasked classmates is nerve-racking.

“Sometimes I do not even want to breathe,” Clerk instructed The Tribune. “You can seriously really feel people’s breath on you. Which is how shut we had been [in the hallway].”

A student in the Garland school district, 11th grader Fernando Alaniz, claims Omicron is so commonplace that three of his teachers are out sick. Half of his eight teachers and most pupils never dress in masks, he informed The Tribune.

About 700 individuals have signed a petition inquiring Garland college officials to make alterations, these kinds of as bringing again remote mastering for students who take a look at good, reviving the mask rule, supplying PCR checks, and providing masks at college.

“It is a disgrace that our college district is not caring about the overall health of the students and team, even however we are heading by way of a pandemic that has taken the lives of so lots of folks in Texas,” the petition claims.

Pupils at the Spherical Rock school district, north of Austin, walked out in an energy to get the administration to impose more basic safety policies. A lot more than 1,800 signed an on line petition.

The Tribune said district officers satisfied with university student protest organizers and agreed to some requires, this sort of as furnishing far more screening web pages and high-top quality masks. 

Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, the Spherical Rock faculty district chief of public affairs and communications, instructed The Tribune that workers shortages make some of the requires difficult to meet up with. For instance, she reported the district could not discover ample individuals to perform contact tracing.  The district experienced a system previously when there were being adequate people.

The Tribune mentioned the Texas lawyer basic is suing the Round Rock ISD for demanding masks in universities – a rule that violates Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. But Pitts, the college student, claimed the mask mandate is unenforced and lots of students really do not dress in them.