MV protesters rally for reopening of schools

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Zoe Morgan/Town Crier
Protesters gathered today (Sept. 8) in Mountain View to protest in favor of reopening schools.

A crowd gathered at the corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real in Mountain View this afternoon (Sept. 8) to protest in favor of reopening schools.

Carrying signs with slogans such as “Education Matters” and “Open Schools,” the protesters organized to urge schools to allow students to return in person. The protest was part of a series of events planned statewide Tuesday, dubbed the “Rally to Reopen California Schools.”

Los Altos resident Efrat Shimoni said she believes families should be given the choice of whether to return to campus. A parent of kids at Mountain View High School and Loyola School, Shimoni said distance learning isn’t working for everyone. Online classes are particularly difficult for young kids, she said, adding that her first-grader isn’t truly learning to read and write.

“They heavily rely on the parents to support them through the school day,” Shimoni said. “That creates a lot of pressure on the parents balancing between their family, their work, their kids.”

In mid-July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that in-person schooling cannot resume until a county is off the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. There is an exemption for elementary schools that receive a waiver from their county. The Los Altos School District is seeking a waiver, and Pinewood School received one Monday (Sept. 7).

The monitoring list has now morphed into a four-tier system, where students can return to campus once their county is out of the most restrictive tier for two weeks. Santa Clara County moved out of the highest tier today.

Many students attended Tuesday’s rally, holding signs that said, “I Miss My Friends” and “Students Aare Essential.” The crowd was made up of families from throughout the county, who stated various reasons for wanting schools to reopen.

Rina Gross, who has kids in the Santa Clara Unified School District, said distance learning isn’t working and her daughter cries nearly every day. With summer camps and day cares permitted, Gross said she didn’t understand why classes couldn’t also resume and believes schools can be safely reopened.

“Give a green light,” Gross said. “Whoever wants to return to the classroom can have a choice, parents can have a choice.”

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