California mom Megan Bacigalupi has had enough. She wants her kindergartner and second-grader back in their Oakland classrooms.
But the coronavirus is spreading too quickly to open schools in Alameda County, based on current state standards. And the local teachers union hasn’t agreed to go back – even after teachers have been vaccinated. So she expects her kids will be logging on to school from home for a while.
“The impediments to opening are just too great,” said Bacigalupi, who is lobbying California lawmakers to establish firm, statewide health metrics that, once met, would require schools to open. “In the end, it comes down to a lack of political will to get the kids back in the classroom.”
Parents across the country, many of whom relied on schools to care for their children while they worked, are frustrated and angry that remote instruction has gone on so long, even as grocery store clerks, city bus drivers and other essential workers have braved the risks of their workplaces. Lawmakers are increasingly joining their calls to get kids into classrooms, citing the loss of worker productivity and parents’ concerns about the social, emotional and academic effects on children. President Joe Biden has pledged to open most schools within his first 100 days in office if Congress provides funding, and if states and cities adopt safety steps.
But that will be a herculean task. Nearly one year into the pandemic, fewer than half of students are attending schools that…