School reopening: US parents pushing for reopening through protests

School reopening has dominated the news cycle in the last few months as parents, governments and teachers remain at odds with each other on the best way to return students to schools.

Parents across the US have now started pushing back against the stringent measures that have been placed by the government and state governments requiring students to study virtually. Across the country, parents are now rallying together and calling for school reopening, highlighting the impact the school closures are having on students.

School reopening protests

In Oregon, Jennifer Dale, in an interview with the associated press, pushed back against her state’s law that prohibited students from attending in-person classes. She indicated that as a mother of three, she had seen how online learning had devasted her kids and pushed them to a point that they were kicking and screaming through their online classes due to discomfort.

Dale said that her third grade daughter had been the most impacted of her children, indicating that she had Down syndrome which made it harder for her to focus on virtual classes. Dale indicated that she had recorded her and sent the video through the mail to school officials highlighting how these classes were impacting her daughter. 

That is when she turned to organizing events to protest online classes and calling for school reopening. She was able to connect with parents who were going through similar challenges and together they started organizing protests locally and calling for school buildings to reopen for their children.

A statewide movement against pandemic measures

The movement has now become statewide with hundreds of parents protesting against school closure in Oregon.  Dale indicated that the purpose of these protests was because it was not fair for these kids to continue learning virtually whereas they were not getting a quality education. She continued by saying that something needed to change as the current system that was being pushed by the state was not working.

The debate on school reopening has become a nationwide matter, with parents from New York, California and Pennsylvania also joining the protests against the school lockdowns. These states have also put in place stringent measures that have so far made it hard for students to return back to school.

New York Mayor, for instance, had indicated that schools would not reopen until coronavirus positive rate fell below three percent. Although this measure has recently been dropped, it highlighted the problem that Mayors and governors are having in trying to balance the safety of students, curbing the spread of coronavirus and reopening the schools.

Lawsuits have also become common with many challenging state governors and mayors and suing them to reopen the schools. 

The last few weeks have shown just how difficult it will be to reopen the schools as the US continues to average over 100,000 cases per day with over a thousand fatalities daily. However, some states have started implementing a hybrid system where some students are allowed to return for in-person classes, while others continue with virtual learning. Dale’s daughter is among the lucky ones who have returned for in-person classes, although her mother indicated that she was the only person in her class attending the lessons. She was however happy that her daughter was finally going to school.


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