Open Letter to the Governor;

You do not know me, or perhaps even care to know me, but my name is Jasmine Williams. I will be 15 years old on the 23rd of August and will be beginning my very first year of high school, a chance I will never get again.

I am an average teenage girl who works considerably hard in school, has average friends, and an average life. Most of my time is spent reading, writing, or shooting photographs and fantasizing about a life as a traveling photographer.

I am writing to you today because I believe that my voice needs to be heard just as loud and clear as the most powerful politicians or the poorest pauper.

Ever since the start of COVID-19 some of my favorite things have been taken from me. At the end of my eighth grade year we were scheduled to take a trip to Washington, D.C. and learn about its rich history. It would have been my first plane ride, and I was very excited. Only a month before the trip, it was cancelled.

Next is the county fair, which takes place every year about a week and a half before my birthday. Ever since I was little I have called it my early birthday present, but this year it is not coming. I won’t get to go on rides with my friends, eat too much fair food, or even perform with my school marching band. These events were all things which I looked forward to, what I promised myself would come during rough days. The things I hope for are gone. High school is said to be the best four years of my life, but so far it does not seem that way.

Now I would like to talk about my upcoming school year. It will be so much different already, even without COVID-19. If we now have to complete our schooling online, I will not get to see any of my friends or learn to my full potential. When we closed our schools back in late April, we did all of our daily classwork over a computer screen. This was very hard for me. When I am at home I tend to procrastinate and my brain is not in the same mindset as it is in my classrooms.

Also, I learn by seeing my teachers work out the problems with us step-by-step until we all understand. When the coronavirus closed our schools, most of my teachers resorted to posting everything on Google Classroom where we have to simply read the instructions, not visually see them. For me, and many other students, it is hard to learn that way. It is as if we are just using a boring text book and reciting its lines.

Online schooling can also be hard for parents. Working adults will have to either send their children to a daycare, also exposing them to COVID-19, or hire a babysitter. Both of these can become very expensive. With that in mind, some parents will leave their children at home alone because they cannot afford the high costs. Also, some families do not have the income to buy electronic devices and wifi to let their children access online school. It is not fair for those children to fail just because they do not have enough money.

Some parents may choose to homeschool their children, which can also be different. These families will have to either pay for online courses, or teach their children themselves. These are just some of the many problems that will occur with online schooling.

I understand that you are trying to stop the spread of this pandemic, but if we are quarantined for months and then suddenly released, there is going to be a considerable spike in coronavirus cases. That is what we are seeing right now. We were kept shut up, released, and now spiking again. This cycle will continue to repeat itself.

We do not have an adequate vaccination at this time, and even if we did, many people,including myself, do not support it in its early stages. Mandating the vaccine is inhumane, and is not required for the flu, even deadly flu strains. This virus spreads much like the flu, so vaccination should be optional.

Maybe the virus will slow on its own. In the meantime, if you shut us down again, the cycle will continue. How long do you plan on cancelling life? Indefinitely? I only have one life to live, and I would like to get back to actually living it.

I understand that you have probably already received thousands of letters regarding this pandemic, and that mine will probably just be lost amongst them, but I am hoping that my voice can help make a change. If you are reading this letter, I want to thank you for taking the time to hear my voice amongst all of the rest and for considering my opinions. The youth of today’s society are oftentimes not listened to, so I hope that our governor will hear us.

Jasmine Williams

Chillicothe

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