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Families, Teachers March at Bay Area Rallies Calling for Schools to Reopen

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) -- Saturday was a statewide day of action marking one year of closed schools and calling for a full reopening of classroom learning. It is a movement that appears to be gaining momentum.

"I've been really encouraged to see how many people have started to stand up and say and point out what seems to be obvious to all of us parents around the city, which is that our kids need to be in school," said San Francisco parent Suprya Ray at a rally in the city Saturday morning.

The demonstrators started at Alamo Square and marched to City Hall. Even some of those who have been active in the campaign to reopen classrooms were pleasantly surprised by the turnout.

"Parents are the group that are most affected by this pandemic, we've just been slammed from every perspective," said Siva Raj. "The fact that so many can actually find time to make it here indicates how much frustration there is in the parent community."

A handful of teachers and elected leaders were on hand as well, including the mayor and what could be called a coalition of city supervisors.

"My understanding is that every single SFUSD teacher and faculty and staff member who wants the vaccine has gotten the first dose at least," said supervisor Hillary Ronen.

The vocal support from city leaders has parents encouraged with a sense that a political critical mass is building behind them.

"I certainly hope so," Ray said. "I think we're seeing that every day in the numbers of parents, teachers, students and people all around the city who support SFUSD fully reopening for all of our kids."

"We are a large district but we have plenty of safety measures. We're ready to go."

It was the same message Saturday in Walnut Creek, where parents are still hopeful for a reopening on March 22.

"We are ready for the board and the union to come to an agreement," said Alivia Overbruner. "Our kids have been out of school and they have been suffering -- their mental health. We are ready for them to get back."

An agreement on reopening in the Mount Diablo district was close but was put on hold pending more discussions. The next meeting is set for Tuesday.

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