East Bay Schools Reopening and Rally


Alan Levine

“Ye Old Classrooms” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A hot topic around the Bay Area currently is the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The growing pandemic has placed major setbacks to education experiences for children and adults around the globe. Although many have differing opinions on this matter, there are several pros and cons to consider when the idea of schools reopening is in the air.
On Tuesday, September 15th, local Brentwood and Discovery Bay residents that are in favor of reopening gathered in Downtown Brentwood to rally and demand that schools open again. Parents, alongside their children marched throughout the area with signs that had slogans such as “I miss my friends” on them.
Many residents have conflicted about the reopening of schools due to the spike in virus cases. As well as the recent rally held by local citizens, the school board may feel pressured to open schools if it is in high demand from the community.
Currently the Brentwood school districts are discussing together for the upcoming plans for reopening local district campuses. Parents have gone back and forth with the controversy of protecting each other for the good of the people’s health versus hopping back into interactive learning experiences in the classroom as quickly as possible.
Angie Harper, an affiliate of the ‘Re-open California Schools’ group, organized the rally in downtown Brentwood alongside several parents also concerned about their children’s education.
“The message we were hoping to spread was one of unity. One that showed families they weren’t alone in their struggles when it came to dealing with distance learning.” explained Harper.
Kristin Bailey who was the co-organizer of the rally and special needs advocate walked with Harper, making it clear that schools needed to open immediately.
“It’s heartbreaking to watch your child struggle. That goes for any parent. For those of us with children with special needs, watching their struggle with “distance learning” is a daily battle.” said Bailey.
Harper and Bailey, with children of their own, have expressed their deep concerns and conflicts involving virtual learning. Noticeably they’ve seen a rapid decline in their children’s focuses and attention spans along with the negative effects it has had on their education.
Aside from the parental point of view on the school struggles students face, Ryan Raimondi, a senior attending Liberty High School, puts into perspective the true difficulties of virtual learning.
“It is easy to mute yourself, slide a bit off camera, and go on your phone. There are more distractions during distance learning and I think a classroom will be able to prevent a lot of challenges we have been presented with during distance learning.” explained Raimondi (12).
Although many parents approve of the idea of schools reopening, others believe opposite.
Jesse Martinelli, a junior at Heritage High School, explains why it is important that students should continue distanced learning protocol.
“As much as parents want to send us back, kids will always break rules and do what they believe is in their best interest. Masks to some do not help with keeping the virus contained, and will take them off to eat with friends or to open their Face ID, during these times between thousands of kids, it’s too much risk.” said Martinelli (11).
Gabriel Vitan, another junior attending Heritage, also voiced his worries concerning the safety precautions for schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our education can easily be established after taking care of health. If we completely damage our health whether it be, physically or mentally, the damages can be extremely detrimental. These damages can even be permanent. Education can be paced and flexible, health cannot.” said Vitan (11).
With this topic quickly rising within the local Brentwood and Discovery Bay communities, it is extremely crucial that young children and adults’s health are considered during this time. There are several debates amongst the people about reopening schools versus the general health of all, but there are both pros and cons that come with resuming in-person learning.