The Williamson County School System operates 10 high schools across the county – but only one, Fairview High School, has cancelled all in-person classes and extracurricular activities due to COVID-19 concerns.
That decision has several Fairview High School parents organizing a rally today at 4:30 p.m. in front of the Williamson County Administrative Building and Williamson County Health Department at 1320 West Main Street in Franklin. The parents are seeking immediate reinstatement to in-person learning and all extracurriculars.
Fairview High parent and student advocate, Biff Curtis said “Our children are being denied an equal education.”
Last Friday, WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong alerted Fairview High parents all in-person classes and extracurricular activities were cancelled through September 15 due to absences related to COVID cases and contact tracing quarantines. All FHS students were advised to return to remote learning.
On Tuesday afternoon, WCS notified Fairview High parents all in-person classes and extracurricular activities were cancelled until September 28 due to a continuing increase in the number of self-reported positive COVID-19 cases connected to the school students and staff.
“At the time of this call, there are 28 cases involving students and teachers with 36 percent of the student population and 14 percent of the teachers and staff quarantined by the Health Department,” stated Birdsong.
Curtis noted, “When we started the school year, the benchmark for remote or in-person learning was set by the school board and the county health department at .5% infection rate in the county. Currently, Williamson County is at a .164 infection rate. However, we (Fairview High School) were arbitrarily selected to be shut down.”
The parent group is also planning to file an injunction today. “It's our belief through legal counsel, that our State given right to equal education is being violated and that our students are experiencing irreparable damage because of it,” said Curtis. The injunction could allow Fairview High students to immediately return to in-person learning and extracurriculars.
Curtis said he has researched the facts with the CDC and health departments. “The data in Tennessee shows that our children have a 0% chance of death from COVID, but what we are seeing firsthand as a result of overreaching restrictions and nonsensical protocols, is our students attempting suicide, having anxiety and depression, engaging in drug and alcohol use, and sliding performance in the classroom,” relayed Curtis.
With most positive COVID cases at Fairview High being self-reported after testing at a primary care physician, urgent care or pediatrician, Curtis said many of those tests are believed to be rapid antigen tests which have a 50 percent false positive, according to studies. “So, if many of these students were retested by the Health Dept. or properly tested with a more accurate test, we would have at least half of the students and teachers who are now quarantined back in school,” advised Curtis.
Along with declining grades, Curtis said research shows physical and mental health are declining. He referenced drug use, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicides on the rise due to aggressive restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Curtis added, “Children in this age group have a higher risk of death from the flu than from COVID-19.”
“We need to step up and advocate for our children right now…It's our time to raise our voice for our children and our community… Wear your mask, if you are inclined, bring your signs, and stand up for yourself and your student,” said Curtis.