Students in state schools have created a “literal Covid-19 breeding ground”, but many US states remaining firm on continuing in-person classes.
More school students across the United States have walked out in protest of in-person learning amid the growing Covid infections.
On Friday, students in Boston, Massachusetts staged a mass walkout at 10.30am where they gathered in their school’s parking lot for 10 minutes. According to the Instagram page @masscovidwalkout, the length of time represented “one minute for every hundred-thousand new Covid-19 cases found on the second of January”.
A senior student a Boston Latin School, William Hu said the inability to allow for remote learning had the potential to be a “death sentence” for vulnerable loved ones. This comes as the state has recorded pandemic-high infections, with a seven-day average of nearly 23,000.
“Forcing students to attend in-person learning simply isn’t safe,” he wrote in a Chang.org petition that’s since accumulated more than 8400 signatures.
“In packed conditions such as the hallway, lunch rooms, and auditoriums, and given the alarming infection rate of the new Omicron variant, schools have become a literal COVID-19 breeding ground.”
“Not to forget that students often live with vulnerable loved ones, to which bringing Covid home is essentially a death sentence.”
Walkouts were also observed in Chicago schools. Although students were required to return to in-person learning on January 12 after a five-day stalemate between the Chicago Teachers Union and the school board.
A Twitter account representing queer Black and Brown youth from the city’s public school, Chi-RADS, organised the protest after issuing a list of demands to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr Allison Arwady and the Executive of the Chicago Public Schools, Pedro Martinez. They included increased transparency and communication around Covid-19 data and student representation in decisions concerning education requirements.
“As you consistently prove yourself and your leadership to be incompetent, we as Black and Brown young people are the common denominator of being the most harmed and impacted,” the letter read. “We are tired, exhausted, and frustrated.”
This week also saw many New York school students walk out from some of the city’s top education institutions like Brooklyn Tech High School, Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, the New York Post reports. This came after New York’s Department of Education reported that more than 11,000 students had tested positive to Covid on Monday, with students believing
that soaring Omicron numbers and the inability to socially distance warrant a change.
Speaking to the publication, a student at Brooklyn Tech said they didn’t “feel safe at school”.
“It’s pretty much that simple. There are so many cases going around and we think more should be done.”
While the city’s Mayor, Eric Adams, has previously rejected a return to virtual education, reports indicate he is currently considering a backflip on the policy.
While the push for virtual learning has so far been rejected by the city’s Mayor, Eric Adams, students believe that soaring Omicron numbers and the inability to socially distance warrant a change.