Surfacing Petitions

Petitions are popping up about closing school due to COVID-19.

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The online view of the petition created by Roshu Senthil and her friends.

Ellie Beiser

After months of quarantine, school is in session. This year, with cautionary procedures against COVID-19. The voluntary decisions of students and staff vary among their own personal stances and situations.

Personal stances and situations in these times have an impact on the proper use of masks, cleaning procedures and for some, in person attendance for those who are online. Opinions on coming back to school are different for every student and can be seen in the recent petitions floating around to close school.

Junior Roshu Senthil and her friends recently created one of these petitions after seeing the new reality of school for themselves.

“I thought that we would be taking more cautionary steps towards coming back to school, especially given the circumstances,” Senthil said. “There are people’s lives on the line and I don’t want the fact that I went to school to be one of the reasons that I put my own health and others health at risk.”

With the risk of contracting the virus stands, there are questions as to why there are not more concrete options for those who do not want to take this risk.

“We should be online or we should be offering a more thorough online course for those who feel more comfortable being at home,” Senthil said. “I know it’s a really difficult situation and I do sympathize with those whose hands are tied, but the lack of planning really shows.”

This growing irritation with the school system is what fueled the petition that states the district should go fully remote or offer a more thorough online course. 

“[The petition] gained a lot of traction and a lot of good attention, and I appreciate that because it helps me realize that there are people on our side,” Senthil said. “However, I think it was glaringly obvious that there are people that aren’t on our side; it’s just extremely disappointing to see young students not caring about those around them.”

The opposing side to the Senthil’s petition not only showed the different perspectives, but went as far as other students creating a petition to take Senthil’s down.

“With our petition we have a goal, their petition is simply to take down ours. Not only is it selfish to be signing the petition but it’s selfish in general to treat Covid 19 as if it doesn’t matter and as if it hasn’t affected thousands of people across the country,” Senthil said. “People will do what they want, but [they should] reflect on their actions and realize that they aren’t the only humans on this earth and that other people can seriously be hurt by their opinions.”

While both petitions continue to gain signatures, a change can only be made if enough signatures are compiled. The way a change would potentially be made remains abstract and unclear.

“I know that a lot of it isn’t up to our administration, but I do think that in the five months that we had during quarantine we could have come up with a better plan to come back to school,” Senthil said. “I understand the situation is uncharted territory and no one really knows what the right thing is to do, but the tough decisions are reflected in the lives of students and I feel uncomfortable that they are willing to run that risk.

Personal stances and situations will continue to generate opinions about being back at school amidst a pandemic. These opinions and passionate students, such as Senthil and her friends, can make a change and be heard. While questions circulate it is those with a voice who can establish the answers.