A petition to reopen Marion County Public and Private Schools is rapidly gaining support thanks to the efforts of “Indy Schools Matter,” a nonprofit formed by several parents of Marion County public and private school students.
The organization was launched following Indianapolis Mayor Hogsett’s issuance of Public Health Order 35 earlier this month, which shuttered all schools in Marion County from November 25, 2020, until at least January 15, 2021.
“Our goal is to put enough pressure on Mayor Hogsett to reconsider the Public Health Order,” co-founder Leigh Ann O’Neill told the Hammer and Nigel Show Tuesday, adding that “there is a significant constitutional question surrounding the Order because it deprives students of their fundamental right to education.”
There is also evidence that the Mayor’s order, well-intentioned though it may be, does little to curb the spread of the virus.
Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine stated earlier this month that students don’t appear to be spreading the virus inside school buildings, but instead, are contracting it through interactions in the community.
O’Neill told the Hammer and Nigel Show that “schools – not the mayor – are in a far better position to determine when it is safe and feasible to be open.”
Indy Schools Matter notes in its petition that in an interview with CNN on Nov. 17, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that in many cases schools can and should be kept open safely.
“[W]e should be trying to keep the children in school as safely as we possibly can,” Fauci said, discouraging local districts from following a “one size fits all” type of closing model.
Indy Schools Matter also raises concerns that blanket closures will inevitably lead to additional hardships for many families.
“Luckily, I can keep my kids here with me, but a lot of parents are not in that position, nor can they afford to put their kids in daycare,” O’Neill said.
The petition, “Save schools and hospitals: Close what is actually spreading the virus!” can be found HERE.
O’Neill said once “Indy Schools Matter” gathers the necessary signatures, they will send the petition to Mayor Hogsett.
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