DAVIS, Calif. — A parent, who's also a frontline healthcare worker, has become increasingly frustrated that her children still are not back in the classroom. 

Kari Oldham said she began fighting to return to in-person learning after her 11-year-old son wrote a powerful letter urging schools to let students come back.

What You Need To Know

  • L.A. County elementary school campuses have been cleared to fully reopen for the first time in nearly a year

  • Parent and frontline healthcare worker Kari Oldham is fighting for a return to in-person learning for kids throughout the state

  • She's had to pivot to get her children a better education after her son wrote a passionate letter urging schools to let students come back

  • The Center for Disease Control recently said schools can allow students to return if the proper precautions are put in place


"Sometimes, I don't even look at my teacher. You just look outside the window feeling trapped in your room, feeling nothing," Oldham's son wrote in a letter.

Oldham said their family tries to do as many school activities as possible, but it's been difficult since the shutdown. She admits she's even had to make some adjustments to her schedule working as a nurse in the emergency room.

"Early on, when we didn't know quite as much, the hospital was able to try to alleviate our fears; some of those were being able to shower and change at work," Oldham said. 

During her time working with coronavirus patients, she said she's noticed not many children are impacted by the virus, convincing her more and more that it's safe for them to go back to school.

"COVID-19 is pretty mild in children and rarely leaves any serious complications or hospitalization," Oldham explained. 

She's even tried offering assistance to the elementary school where her youngest son attends daycare, so the kids in her community can have a better education.

"I went there and said, 'Hey, I'm a nurse. Would you like to temporarily employ me to help you guys get this stuff off the ground?'"

She said the school didn't take her up on her offer, and now she's been left with no other choice but to pivot to get her children a better education.

"At this point, we've given up hope. The message that we're getting is that there's a lot of people leaving. I think they have 400 students that [have] already moved out of the district," Oldham said. 

Her two boys will be attending a private school in Woodland, a nearby town about 20 minutes away, but she says she'll continue to keep pushing for public schools to reopen for good.

"I'm going to continue to try to fight and open up the schools the best I can to help out the other parents that I've met along the way and help their kids out," Oldham added.


Even when schools do reopen, Oldham said her kids will continue to attend private school so they can have a stable education for the rest of the year.

The Center for Disease Control recently said schools could allow students to return if the proper precautions are put in place, including wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing.

Oldham said she agrees with the CDC and hopes all children in California will return to in-person learning as soon as possible.