An online petition has attracted more than 1,000 signatures from parents who want to see their children back in school full-time.

The initiative is titled 'Petition to Enable Maine School Districts too Return to Full-Time In-Person Instruction,' and is the product of a group that calls themselves 'Concerned Parents of RSU 22,.' The total keeps rising on the petition, that already has over 1,000 signatures. It's a frustrating hot button issue for parents across the state and, likely, across the country. Parents are struggling to keep their children motivated and mentally healthy, while the students are missing being in school and seeing their friends. Plus, the hybrid model is putting a strain on parents who are trying to wrangle childcare while keeping their jobs.

Creator Sarah Newell writes, in the petition, that RSU 22 has taken many measures to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, including Needle Point Ionization systems in the school buildings. These systems 'generate operating room air quality for each room every 30 to 45 minutes.' Despite this modification, students are not allowed back in school full-time because of physical distancing guidelines.Instead, classes are divided into groups that attend a couple days a week. When not in class, the students are experiencing remote learning.

The petition concludes with the following request:

"We respectfully demand that the Department of Education, Maine Center for Disease Control and Governor Janet Mills put our students first and relax or waive social distancing requirements for RSU 22 and districts like it."

The Maine Department of Education has responded to the petition by stating that its framework is based on recommendations from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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