Durham students start petition for more virtual learning options amid pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students in Durham have only been in school for about two weeks. But in those two weeks, many have discovered learning in person in a pandemic is not for them and are taking action to change their options.

Senior student at Hillside High Omari Scott said his anxiety is at an all-time high since starting school again.

"I have asthma so I know me getting sick would most definitely even though I'm vaccinated. It would still affect me, even though vaccinated people are still getting symptoms and passing it," said Scott

He says he is not alone and that's why as the student body president he started this petition to give back the option to virtually learn.

Chip Sudderth with DPS says 700 students are enrolled in their virtual academy, that deadline was Aug. 1.

"The state legislature has passed a bill that the governor signed that forbids school systems like ours from choosing to just do virtual learning for everybody," said Sudderth.

Right now, Omari's petition has just under 300 signatures and he's hoping to get thousands of signatures to send to the governor's desk - asking for hybrid options for students.

"We didn't hesitate to mandate masks. Our school board is discussing whether to mandate vaccinations for staff. We take it very, very seriously. And we are using all the tools that the law allows us to protect our students and staff," said Sudderth.

"I definitely feel like it's wrong for students who have illnesses to be forced to be in a building around other students, and not having the opportunity to protect themselves," said Scott

Sudderth says they are using federal COVID funds to assist students who may be struggling this semester and have information here.

A link to the petition can be found here.
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