Parents Plans ‘Zoom Out’ Strike Over School Closures. Will Local Families Join?
Reopen California Schools, a statewide Facebook group that organized rallies earlier this month to protest the continued closures of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says parents need to go on strike next week — and keep their kids from logging online for their classes.
The group, created in June and now with more than 6,500 members, has organized a “Zoom Out” to protest distance learning.
“Calling all teachers and students in California to go dark on Monday, Sept. 28th – Oct 2nd. Or better yet, change your screens to green or the Reopen California Schools logo and let them KNOW why your child is not present.
“Don’t login, call in sick, or let the attendance hotline know you are protesting online ‘learning’ by being offline. … Do whatever you need to, but make sure to participate in this distant ‘learning’ blackout protest.”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the Zoom Out initially was planned as a one-day event.
“At first it was scheduled for September 28th but we were informed that is a Jewish holiday and in addition some school districts will be on fall break. Some parents wanted to blackout for an entire week to send a bigger statement, some parents don’t want to have their kids miss that much school. So the event has been created for September 28th-October 2nd. The main event begins Monday the 28th, do what works for you!”
Annabelle Kennedy, who helped organize Reopen California Schools rally in Clovis, said she and her husband haven’t yet decided whether to participate in the Zoom Out next week. Their children are in the first, third, and fifth grades in Clovis Unified School District.
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“My husband and I are still on the fence about participating in the blackout,” she said. “I certainly support others who choose to participate, we just aren’t sure if it’s what we want to do.”
Reopening Plans in Development
The protest comes as infection rates are lowering across the state and are approaching the thresholds the state has set for schools to reopen. Fresno County, one of the state’s hotspots has been making progress, and it it continues county health officials say schools here could begin reopening for in-person instruction starting in mid-October. Meanwhile, districts can apply for waivers from the county health officer to reopen elementary schools.
Clovis Unified trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to seek such a waiver. Trustees learned at the meeting that when schools do reopen, hybrid schedules will be required so students can maintain a 6-foot distance in classrooms.
Once schools get the green light to reopen, there will be no further blanket closure orders from state or county health departments, although individual classes or schools hit by COVID-19 outbreaks might need to temporarily close.
Related Story: Clovis Unified High Schools Might Not Reopen for Classes Until January
District officials are aware of the Zoom Out protest scheduled for next week, spokeswoman Kelly Avants said Friday.
“We recognize the challenges our families and teachers are facing in delivering online learning and have already taken steps down the road to a healthy return to campuses,” she said. “It’s our hope that parents would understand that we have already heard the message that such a protest is trying to send, and that efforts are already underway to develop and implement the details of schedules, health and safety protocols, and instructional models to get our students back on campus.
“Until the time students are back on campus we are working to make every day of learning online valuable, build relationships with our families and our students, and encourage participation through purposeful lessons and instruction.”