CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (KION) Parents of students within the Carmel Unified School District are gathering signatures to get the district to allow full-time, in-person classes for the upcoming year.
The district told KION they also want to open schools full time and in person but they have to balance that with safety concerns.
As of Monday, the petition for in-person instruction to resume in August 2020 on change.org has received more than 870 signatures.
The petition states that the "most effective way to educate our children is at-school learning from teachers" and cites the difficulties of distance learning at home.
“I have one who refuses to be on Zoom. He would hide under the table. I’m pulling him up, while the other one is supposed to be on Zoom in the other room. And when your kids are under 10, it's impossible to move from one room to another,” petition organizer Jill Lewis said.
The districts plan for next year is still unclear but if they choose to do distance learning, parents are concerned about how it’ll impact their children.
“A lot of people feel that its not only a negative academic toll was taken on their children, but a negative emotional toll,” Jill Lewis said.
In a public records request, KION learns the district was aware of parents' complaints as early as May 3. A letter from an unknown person to parents... includes excerpts of complaints written to now-resigned Superintendent Barbara Dill-Varga. That person says the learning level is “far below the standard of what students are used to doing.”
As for whose decision it is to open individual schools: Dr. Moreno says that’s up to each school’s superintendent.
“If schools want to reopen and allow students back into the classroom, they can do so as long as they follow California Department of Public Health guidance,” Public Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said.
Parents told KION their children's health is a top priority.
"I'm trying to follow the experts opinions. Of course it's my daughter's health and our health that we're gambling with so we got to take it really seriously," CUSD parent Greg Freeman said.
In a statement to KION, the district said their decision to go back will based on “a plan that provides for student and staff safety as well as the best instructional program we can deliver given the conditions and guidelines at the time.”
The district expects to make a recommendation to the school board no later than July 22.