The West Contra Costa school district got up late at night – deciding how to handle an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Schools are open for in-person learning and will remain open, but public comments at Thursday night’s school board meeting gave us a glimpse of what some parents are feeling about this increase.
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The council had not planned on the agenda to vote on the closure of schools. It was a special reunion just to listen to the parents.
Several parents demanded a return to distance education.
“They’re playing Russian roulette with these kids,” said Stephanie Wong-Ortiz, grandparent of a student at Korematsu Middle School. “I don’t feel safe and I know a lot of others feel the same.”
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Staff this week staged a “work stoppage” at Korematsu and Stege Elementary School to protest the district’s current guidelines on the omicron variant.
” I’m worried ? Absolutely, ”said Miesha Harris-Gash, special education teacher at Kennedy High School. “I love teaching, it’s my passion. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to communicate algebra and other topics to students via zoom. I think this has to come back in some form or another, but it also depends on the grade level. “
At the meeting, board members reviewed their current protocols. Eligible students and staff must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. They provided KN95 masks to staff and surgical masks to students. However, cases are increasing and many are sick. More than 1,500 students and staff test positive for COVID-19, and dozens of classrooms are closed.
“We send all of our support staff to school sites as much as possible and learn as well,” said Michael Booker of the school district.
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Closing schools, some parents say, would make them feel safer.
“I think they have to shut down the whole system,” Wong-Ortiz said. “I know if 40 other parents would hear what I’m saying, they would agree too.”
Council members say they will continue to work on strategies to slow the spread of the virus and make recommendations to the superintendent.
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