PIQUA — A Piqua resident and mother of six recently started a petition against the prospect of “mixed school days” for the 2020-2021 school year, following a suggestion by Governor Mike DeWine during a daily COVID-19 press briefing earlier this month.
DeWine suggested a two-day blended learning plan in which students are split up into two groups. Each group would have two days of in-person classes each week but on separate days from each other with remote learning the other three days a week.
“The lack of structure that this would create for a lot of kids is not acceptable,” Alice Marrs said. “It was my idea to start the petition because (DeWine) kept saying, ‘I hear you,’ but I didn’t feel like he was listening, and I just thought, instead of waiting until the fall when all these things were put in to place and there was really no recourse to it, that I would take a proactive stance on it now.”
Marrs has four children who are currently in the kindergarten through 12th grade school system, and after experiencing the virtual schooling approach taken during the shut down of schools over the past two months, she believes her kids, and potentially many others, are missing out on an important aspect of education.
“Some of our children are in accelerated classes and, God love our teachers, they were amazing in trying to work with us to get to the end of this year, but my daughter did not learn everything that she would have in a normal school setting,” Marrs said. “Children with an IEP and social issues will, in my mind, be hurt the worst by this.”
Marrs also said that while she believes the initial actions taken to slow the spread of the virus were understandable and necessary, she feels as though keeping these orders going for an extended period of time will cause more harm than good.
“The biggest thing I want to be heard is that, even Dr. (Amy) Acton has now had to admit, this (virus) was here in January,” Marrs said. “We lived our lives, our kids went to school, we didn’t wear masks, we didn’t do all these crazy things that they’re enforcing, and I’m not aware of our hospitals being overrun or large numbers of unexplained deaths in our community. Now that we do know more about it, why would we completely disrupt our children’s education?”
So far, Marrs’ petition, which is titled Ohio Parents Against Mixed School Days 2020-21 and can be found on Change.org, has garnered over 47,000 signatures. Marrs said she plans to continue collecting signatures until the end of May, at which time she will send the petition to local and state representatives and entities.
“Obviously, the Ohio Department of Education doesn’t care what one mom in Piqua thinks,” Marrs said. “But if the school board, and the superintendents, and the teachers, and parents would all get together and say that this not what we want for our children and students, maybe we could make a difference.”