About a dozen parents and their children gathered at four school locations across the Santa Clarita Valley to protest the campuses’ continued closure Monday morning.
Scattered across Valencia High, Saugus High, Meadows Elementary and West Creek Academy, the parents held signs as people driving by honked, during what would normally be the time their children were being taken to class.
“It’s a major burden on them to be home,” said Rebecca Gugler, a registered nurse and mother of three West Ranch High School students. “I’ve seen how it’s affected them, so I’ve been trying to influence people by reaching out to other parents and teachers. We’ve been making comments at the (school) board meetings and to the Los Angeles (County Board of) Supervisors meeting.”
Gugler believed her next step was to organize a protest. “I’ve been sending letters, emails, phone calls to (Supervisor) Kathryn Barger’s office, Gov. (Gavin) Newsom, to all the Public Health people and it just seems like it’s not making any difference, nothing is changing,” she said.
Schools transitioned to virtual at-home learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Currently, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has restricted schools from reopening to all grade levels, although elementary schools were able to apply for waivers that would allow students in grades TK-2 to return to school campus once approved.
Students in higher grade levels will not be able to return to school until Public Health eases restrictions, which Director Barbara Ferrer said wouldn’t be until COVID-19 cases significantly decrease. As of Monday, the county had more than 900 positive cases in the last 24 hours.
“We are at the mercy of the county,” Dave Caldwell, public information officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District, said Friday.
The protest was organized to be on four different campuses throughout the SCV. The biggest group was gathered at the intersection of Orchard Village Road and Mill Valley Road near Meadows Elementary School.
The group held signs reading “our kids deserve better” and “open SCV schools,” next to children who had signs that read “we want to go to school” and “education is my right.”
The crowd began to disperse about an hour and a half after gathering. One protester said it was time for her kids to “go to their online classes” before leaving.