A group of about two to three dozen parents and students gathered Monday morning calling for the full reopening of in-person class instruction at two North County school districts.
Protesters shouted, "five days now" and held signs urging San Marcos and Oceanside Unified School Districts to return to its pre-pandemic schedule like other North County districts have already done.
Several parents have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the two districts’ timeline and capacity on reopening classrooms and have held protests in the past voicing their concerns. They say the slow reopening process has hindered their children’s academic and mental health while they’ve been learning remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Every student has been more stressed than ever and it’s had a huge effect on our mental health, as well as our social life, and it’s completely ruined us to have no friends going into the 7th grade and not being able to see any of your friends that you used to have," 7th-grader Zoe Primosch said.
So far San Marcos and Oceanside Unified School Districts have partially reopened their campuses for in-class learning but some families say that is not enough for students’ education and wellbeing. The two are part of six North County school districts named in a lawsuit filed by the Parents Association to have schools reopen; they are also the only ones in the complaint who have yet to fully reopen.
“We just keep wondering what’s it going to take,” said Kimberly Imhoff, whose two children attend school at San Marcos Unified School District.
The other four schools named in the lawsuit -- San Dieguito Union High School District, Poway, Carlsbad and Vista Unified School Districts – have already offered the option to return to school full time. Right now, Oceanside Unified’s schedule includes four half-days of in-class learning while San Marcos Unified is offering two days of instruction in class.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland initially ruled that the school districts must offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.
Later, she issued an order declining San Marcos and Oceanside’s school districts to reopen for more than two partial days. She accepted the schools’ arguments that they need to work on expanding instruction.
However, some students say expanding the two districts' reopening plans could improve their wellbeing and they championed for the cause.
“With exams coming up, we’d be able to resume learning as it should be, and to finish out the year being with all our friends, who many of them we haven’t seen in 13 months, it would be extremely helpful," 10th-grade student Ashton Rosenzweig said.