CUPERTINO (KPIX 5) – A group of about two dozen Cupertino Union School District parents rallied Wednesday afternoon to demand that distance learning be reinstated as pediatric COVID-19 cases reach an all-time high in the nation.
"I'm very scared. I'm very concerned, each and every day," said Jyothi Dosapati.
Less than three weeks into the school year, the moms and dads said they don't feel safe with their kids in classrooms as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to be behind a dramatic increase in COVID cases.
The group said they surveyed nearly 900 parents, claiming more than 90 percent of them want to return to distance learning.
"I do not enjoy sending them to school," said Mamatha Omprakashatty who has a first and second grader in the school district. "Every cough, every sneeze bothers me a lot."
The parents, whose kids are too young to be eligible for the vaccine, said they've sent emails to district leaders and school board members but have not received a response.
Desperate to get their message across, the parents rallied outside the district office in Sunnyvale with signs. The group made their way into the office lobby, but ironically they claim they were told to wait outside because of concerns over the virus.
They said that virtually every staff and board meeting remains online, but when it comes to their kids they're expected to gather in-person.
"Even the parent teacher meeting is online, everything," Dosapati said.
The parents told KPIX 5 that there is a home study option available to them, but it entails just 30 minutes with a teacher and the rest of the day falls on the parents. Many of them said they work and can't dedicate that time with their children.
But what's even more concerning to them is that if they choose the home study option that means their kids lose their coveted spots in their schools.
The group said they pay a lot of money to live in the area so that their children can go to certain schools, and the last thing they want is having their children lose their spots in class once they feel safe going back.
District staff agreed Wednesday to meet with the parents at some point next week, however, a date or time was not set.
"We are already seeing one or two new cases popping up," said Srinivas Ponnala who has a 4 and 7-year-old in the school district.
Ponnala said the district or schools don't tell them when a COVID cases is identified unless a child has been exposed, which he said makes them feel even more helpless. He said parents find out about new COVID cases through the district's online dashboard.
As of Wednesday, 10 students and six staff members had been infected with COVID, according to the dashboard.
"We learned that looking at the dashboard, but we didn't get an official email notification or anything," Ponnala said. "We're not looking for actual kids, details, personal identity, but we should be informed as a parent."
KPIX 5 reached out to the district for comment late Wednesday night.
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