reopening schools

Lakeside Parents, Students Protest For Full Return of On-Campus Learning

The parents were putting out an S.O.S., or a "Save Our Schools" message to their superintendent

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Parents fed up with distance learning protested outside Lakeside Union School District Monday to send a message to the superintendent.

They want the district to follow the lead of some private schools and bring back on-campus learning five days a week.

Some of the parents, with their children by their side, held up signs with messages like “S.O.S.: Save Our Schools.”

One man holding an American flag was more vocal, yelling Get these kids in school! That's what we need to do!"

The protesting parents, that included candidates running for the school board, are ready to move their children from the district’s Phase Two hybrid learning plan to Phase Three. That’s where all students who want to can return for full, in-person instruction.

“The kids just aren’t learning the way they need to,” said Steven Moll, the father of a first-grader.

He showed us a video of his son hopping on the bed playing when it was supposed to be home schooling time.

“They’re falling further and further behind in school. And on top of that, not getting social interaction,” said Moll. "They don’t get to go to school every day and hang out at school and interact. It’s a big deal to get them back in."

Lakeside Union School District Superintendent Andrew Johnsen said for those parents concerned their children are falling behind, a plan is in the works.

"We're reexamining our models, particularly for special education students. Those are some our most fragile students. Our special education team is working right now to figure out how can we get those students more class time. For all of our general education students, we've got our first round of academic assessments happening right now. We’ll use those data to then look at how we might make the tweaks to our current hybrid model."

After meeting with protesters outside his office, Superintendent Johnsen told NBC 7 as a father of two public school children, he understands parents’ concerns.

Noting one of the problems with bringing all students back on campus is the lack of space to make sure there’s adequate physical distancing.

But Moll is wondering if space can be made, since nearly 20% of the district's students have chosen full distance learning.

"Parents that want to keep their kids at home or teachers that don’t want to go back, they should be able to make that decision. And the kids and parents that want them to go back should be able to let them go back.”

Superintendent Johnsen said they've only had one case of coronavirus.  

Thursday, parents will get to voice their concerns during a special school board meeting.

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