AITE Student Creates Petition to Close Down Schools


The Stamford Public Schools website has a COVID-19 Dashboard that tracks the number of positive cases in the school district.

Sofia Sarak, Editor-in-Chief

On November 30, 2020, a petition titled “Switch Stamford Schools to Remote Learning” began circulating on social media. The petition, created by an anonymous student from the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE), has gained 250 signatures as of 11 a.m. on December 2, 2020.

The student states that with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Connecticut, it is “alarming” that the Stamford Public Schools (SPS) has remained open. He/she also claims that it is necessary for the decision to be district-wide, rather than particular students switching to the distance-learning option provided by the district.

“Although each student has a choice to switch to distance learning individually, [SPS students] do not have the option to make the switch while keeping [their] schedules and teachers. This incentivizes students to stay in a learning environment that isn’t safe for them out of fear that they will not be able to catch up on their work in whatever class they are switched into mid-quarter,” the petition states.

AITE Senior Class President Campbell Beaver signed the petition, claiming that SPS didn’t create a “fair system” for its students.

“I feel unsafe at school and want to switch to online learning, but I can’t because my schedule and teachers will change if I do so. I should be able to keep the classes I have been working hard in all year and feel safe at the same time,” Beaver said. 

“I think I speak for almost everyone when I say that I want schools to close. Health comes before education.”

Other students stand in support of the district’s decision to stay open. Stamford High Senior Charlotte Saunders explained that she needs to be physically in school to effectively learn and stay motivated.

“I believe the petition is very inconsiderate. It should be about improving distance learning, not trying to shut down schools,” said Saunders.

The SPS 2020-2021 Reopening Plan, which was released in early August, describes the steps that will be taken to determine whether or not the district should close. 

“The Superintendent and Stamford Department of Health will review attendance of staff and students and nurse office records…to determine whether Stamford Public Schools will remain at a moderate or high risk.”

Based on the Reopening Plan, a “moderate risk” diagnosis would result in a change to the Hybrid instruction model to reduce the number of students in a building at a time, while a “high risk” would require a switch to full distance-learning.

Stamford Public Schools has not issued a direct response to the recent petition. However, a survey was sent out to students on December 1, 2020, meant to help the district “understand better our students’ experience in this new COVID-19 school environment.”