Prosper parents want virtual option for children under 12
Prosper parents joined together outside the Prosper Independent School District Administration Office to demand a virtual option for Kindergarten through sixth grade students. This group, who had also protested before the beginning of school, met on Friday to petition the Prosper school board to consider COVID-safe options for students who are not yet eligible for the vaccination.
The group consisted of about 80 parents who made signs and wore masks for the event.
“Today we are here to protect our kids from the ongoing COVID-19,” Sia Krishna said. “Especially with the Delta variant that is impacting children more. We are seeing throughout the world, as well as in the Dallas area, that the numbers are increasing and the pediatric hospitals are getting full. There are not enough hospital beds for all of our children. We are wanting to protect our children.”
The main agenda of the protest is for virtual education for the children.
“We are wanting a plan from Prosper ISD,” Krishna said. “We know that other districts are offering the virtual option until there is a vaccination available for younger children. That is what we are wanting as well. This is for the benefit of the entire community. This decision impacts both the children, as well as the parents, employers, and older members of our community.”
“We are frustrated,” Vamshi G. said. “The district said that we have a responsibility to send our children to school, and I agree with that. But then the district is not taking responsibility to protect our children and follow the guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks. We are doing our part to send our children to school but, when we do that, we know we are putting them at risk. We need a plan, just a portion of time for Delta to go down.”
“We have all gathered here for one purpose,” Archana Chouchary said. “We want a virtual education option for our children. We want a safe option for our children and our community. My son has allergies and asthma. I am so concerned for my child as he continues to go to school. We all know of people who have already seen their children get sick and we know that these cases continue to increase.”
Former school board candidate Alex Cornwallis said, “This boils down to taxation without representation, which is so fundamental in this country. We have communicated with the Board and Superintendent. We are one of the wealthiest school districts and yet we do not have a virtual option. This is a civil rights issue.”
“We want to know what the plan is inside the district,” Krishna said. “Are the teachers spreading out the students? We know that during lunch it is dangerous for the children because they can not wear their masks. We want the school district to address our concerns and offer compromises. We want the students to eat outside in good weather, or eat inside their classrooms. Especially as the numbers increase, we just want to know if they have a plan and what it is. All we want is for the district to be proactive rather than reactive.”
The Prosper website is no longer displaying COVID numbers for the district at large or for each campus.
“We know other districts are tracking these numbers,” Cornwallis said. “We do not understand why they are not communicating this information with us. We have only been in school eight days and there are children who already have contracted Covid. We just want clear communication.”
The majority of the people who attended the protest were part of the local Indian community in Prosper.
“This impacts us differently,” Vamshi G. said. “If we have a child who is very sick, we do not have other family members who can take care of them. We are relying on our friends, which we are grateful that we have friends who can care for children, but then they are putting themselves at risk as well. "
Mathew Vaophese said, “We are so lucky here in the United States to have three choices for vaccinations for older children and adults. Many other places in the world do not have that choice. We have lived in other countries and have seen what can happen when the government is not proactive in making sure people can stay safe. We do not want that here for our families. We only want the option to keep our children home. This will help all the students, as it will give more space in the classrooms for the students that remain in person.”
Prosper Communications Department made the following statement, “As you may know, the State of Texas did not provide funding to school districts for virtual learning for the 2021-2022 school year. This is one reason why Prosper ISD, like the vast majority of school districts in Texas, determined that we would be unable to offer a virtual option for the upcoming school year. We are aware that some local school districts have decided to offer a virtual option for the first nine weeks of school. However, it is important to note that school districts are not all funded the same, and many districts received substantially more COVID-19 funding through the federal government than did Prosper ISD. Unfortunately, we do not believe that we have appropriate funding to provide a high quality virtual option for our students, which is the difficult truth facing many school districts in Texas.”