LOS ANGELES — After 11 months of watching her son Cash struggle with distance learning, Karen Widman is doing something she’s never done before: driving around the county’s board of supervisor’s offices in Downtown Los Angeles to demand schools reopen immediately.
“He’s 10-years-old,” she said of her son. “One tenth of his life already had been in lockdown. That’s not right.”
Widman, a mom of four from Saugus joined the “Open Schools Car Rally” organized by the Student’s First Coalition, a group of educators and parents who say online-learning is failing students.
“It’s affecting the social and emotional development of a whole generation of kids and I’m angry that no one is listening to them,” she said.
Cash, who is a fourth grader at Mountainview Elementary in Saugus, said being stuck at home in front of the computer has been overwhelming.
“It’s hard on kids because the only people who can help us are our parents who don’t really get this new type of school learning and it just leaves kids in visible confusion,” he said.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in-person schooling can be done safely. But LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday that the number of COVID cases in Southern California is still too high. He also stressed that vaccinating all school workers is key.
“We know a critical part of reopening school classrooms will be creating the safest possible school environment, and that includes providing vaccinations to all who work in schools,” Beutner said.
Widman said schools need to open up now, before students suffer irreparable damage.
“This can be done, she said. “This is the United States of America. We can put a person on the moon. This is not that hard.”