Thousands sign a petition to reopen St. Louis County schools

Coronavirus

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Many parents are fighting back against their child’s school. Students are allowed to go into school to play sports but they are not allowed in classrooms.

High school freshman Megan Skaggs was headed for volleyball tryouts inside her school right after our interview. She said she feels safe doing it.

“Because we wear a mask in, and we have to do this health form making sure you don’t have any symptoms, so if you don’t fill that out you’re not allowed in the school,” she said. “So, I feel like that’s really safe. We don’t like really ‘High 5’ in volleyball anymore. We do like this ‘Foot 5’ to make sure no one spreads it.”

She thinks she should also be allowed to go to school for her education. Her younger brother Kyle is also allowed to play but cannot attend school in person.

“We are not learning much. I want to interact with my friends and learn with them, and see my friends in person,” said Kyle Skaggs.

Another sibling, who is in college is also stuck learning from home. Ashley grew up in arts and theatre and says she would not be the same person without learning in person.

“I really have a lot of strong bonds with some of my theatre teachers and my art teachers because they were really in-tune with their students. They really liked participating with us and, giving feedback, and it was really a good healthy education,” said Ashley.

Their father, Matt Skaggs, started a petition “St. Louis County Children Have a Constitutional Right to Return Safely to School.” Thousands of people have signed hoping to pressure schools to open.

“It is mind-numbing to think we can’t put precautions in place,” said Matt Skaggs.

William Cook’s mom said her son with autism needs school for his mental health.

Rockwood was inundated with complaints from parents. It led to an announcement Friday that the youngest students in preschool through second grade will soon return in person.

Matt Skaggs is not done pushing. He pointing to districts that have found ways to open up across both rivers.

“The Rockwood School District did not respond to our question about sports, but another school district in which we noticed active sports without allowing students back in the classroom did respond.  

The Webster Groves School District wrote:

“While some may wonder how we can have sports practices when we don’t have school, we would point out that there’s a sizeable difference between having 1400 kids in class for seven hours a day than group of 20 for 1 ½ hours under a much easier controlled environment, operating hours under guidelines established and continually re-evaluated by the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force (team comprised of sports medicine and pediatric physicians from SSM, BJC and Mercy)  and our strict protocols. In addition, the adults and children are choosing to participate in these activities, which is not the case with going to school.”

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