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‘Very troubling’: Students form COVID concern committee

Group creates online survey for TUSD students
KOLD News 5:30-6 p.m. Sundays recurring
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:55 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Pueblo High student is taking action on the school closures.

He’s behind the creation of a group called “Committee for Concerned Students”.

The group is sharing surveys on that campus and other TUSD schools.

“Learning is very much disrupted,” said Carlos Laphond, a senior at Pueblo High School.

That’s the TUSD campus with the reported highest spike in cases: 82 on January 11.

76 students and 6 teachers tested positive.

“We are constantly having to worry about, ‘Am I going to get sick next. Who’s going to bring the virus today? Who’s going to get sick?’” he said.

He’s said he’s experienced similar school scenarios of joined classrooms.

“There have been cases where you have two or three classes simultaneously,” said Laphond.

But that’s not the group’s biggest concern. It’s the heavy-traffic hallways during passing periods.

“So you have a bunch of kids all going down in opposite directions in the hallways. Sometimes some of them will just have their masks, like just covering their mouth. Sometimes they don’t have them on at all because they don’t care. So it’s very, very troubling and discouraging,” he explained.

Also troubling, he said, the disruption in learning when teachers test positive for COVID.

He’s experienced that first-hand when a teacher began to show symptoms.

“So as a precaution, he went down to the nurse’s office to get tested. Minutes later, he receives a call and then he tells us, I’m sorry guys. I’m going to be absent for a week.” he said.

Most of the times, he said, the back-up means merely babysitting.

Because of the fact that we’re not really learning sometimes. Most of the time I would have to say, it’s a matter of, ‘Come here, sit down. If you have work from your classes, do it. You can do whatever you want, just stay in this classroom,’” he said, “When teachers are gone in general, there’s little to no learning whatsoever.”

Packed hallways, crowded classes. and disrupted learning, he said, all the reasons there’s now a Committee for Concerned Students.

“We came together as a group because we are very, very tired of this environment that we’re living in and it’s not only us,” Laphond said.

The group is sharing a student survey across TUSD campuses with the goal of getting at least 5,000 responses to present to the board two weeks from now.

So far, they’ve received about 785 responses.

“We’re gathering data that we intend on analyzing so that we can present an accurate report of the situation in the district,” he said.

The group’s goal is to convince the district to move to remote for two weeks to reduce the COVID counts and demand more resources.

For more information, visit the Committee for Concerned Students website.

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