A group of a few dozen parents, school administrators and students held a “Open Up Our Schools” rally on Tuesday in support of returning to school campuses in the fall.
Last Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom had said he would not allow schools to reopen if they were in a county that had been placed on the state’s “watchlist,” or the list of over 30 counties in the state that are experiencing a negative trend in regard to COVID-19.
Los Angeles County was among those named by the governor, thereby prohibiting both public and private schools from reopening in-person instruction in the fall until the county had been off the watchlist for an uninterrupted 14 days.
While local school districts have all approved or are expected to approve online learning plans to start the fall, they’ve also all instructed staff to look at blended learning models for when it’s safe to do so. State Sen. Scott Wilk and county Supervisor Kathryn Barger both said they’d support a request from a local superintendent for a waiver, which is allowed under state guidelines under certain scenarios.
Largely organized by the students and families of Trinity Classical Academy, Lily Caddow, a sophomore at the private Christian school, said she had helped plan the protest because she was eager to return to her school.
“Whenever people were talking about opening our schools on the news, it was all teachers unions, and teachers and politicians,” said Caddow. “It wasn’t like you were hearing from anyone that actually goes to school. So we figured why not hear from the students who actually need an education and who are the people receiving it rather than everyone else around it.”
Liz Caddow, Lily’s mother and also Trinity’s head of school, said as both an administrator and mother she wanted her students and children to be safe, but she knows children thrive more in an in-person school environment.
“I’m hopeful to bring our kids back to school,” said Liz Caddow.
Lily Caddow said online learning had left her wanting, and that the personal relationships she had with her classmates and teachers feel like they’ve been cut off.
“There’s more than just students that want kids to go back,” said Caddow. “Teachers want to see their kids be educated and see their improvement throughout the year and experience it with them.”
Caddow said she was prepared to follow all the safety protocols, wear a mask, stay socially distanced, if it meant getting back into the classroom.
“You can’t live in fear,” said Caddow, “you just have to go out and do it.”
Caddow’s friend and classmate Dianna Granger, also in 10th grade, said she recognized the irony of being a high schooler who actually wants to return to school.
“There’s certain things you can’t get across by being on Zoom or Facetime, kids aren’t always completely engaged,” said Granger. “Every single one of us wants to go back to school, and kids are famous for hating school. So if you have all these people trying to get back, it shows how serious of an issue it is.”