San Diego Unified School District

Parents Rally at SDUSD Headquarters for Return to In-Person Learning

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Parents say their voices and needs are going ignored, and despite all the reopening discussions that have taken place, they claim there is still no definitive plan.

Amy Adams, mother to a fourth and fifth grader in the district, took her voice of protest to the street.

“Distance learning is not an adequate substitute for an in-person education,” Adams said during a break from waving her sign at passing cars. “We need to get back in school."

Adams’ sign read “Save our schools” with an x running through the words “screen time.” A little boy at the rally waved a sign that said, “I miss my friends.”

Adams said she came to the rally on behalf of her own children, and the thousands of district students she says are being underserved.

Protest organizer Gina Smith’s struggle with distance learning revolves around work-life balance, and trying to be a parent and provider.

"I work two jobs and I am trying to juggle school life, and work life, and home life,” she explained.

Smith is worried about her child’s side of the struggle as well.

“Day by day he is losing interest, looking at his screen and having difficulty engaging the learning,” Smith said.

Adams, too, worries about what her children are missing out on by learning from home.

"Their interactions with their teacher, the interactions with their peers,” she said.

Fellow district parent Heather Perry was one of many at the rally who argued it’s safe to send kids back to school as long as staff and administrators can keep to protocol.

"As long as they have the protocol in place that the CDC advises, I think it is safe,” she said.

NBC 7 reached out to the district for comment about reopening campuses, but the district didn’t have anything new to say. A district spokesperson sent back a statement from early August that read in part, “The San Diego Unified School District will adopt strict new standards to protect students, staff and the community from the spread of COVID-19… Conditions for reopening local schools will be stricter than state standards, will proceed in phases, and will require critical protective measures."

If parents at Tuesday’s protest were to grade the district's response, it would likely be unsatisfactory.

Some parents with special needs students said they just received notices concerning in-person learning that the district was calling "phase one".

NBC 7 reached out to the district on that front as well but has not heard back.

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