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Some Livermore Parents Demand Return To In-Classroom Learning

LIVERMORE (CBS SF) -- Parents in Livermore planned to pack Tuesday night's school board meeting to demand that their students return to classrooms for in-person learning as soon as possible.

Parents and students are showing up to the Livermore Unified School District meeting urging the district to reopen schools that have been shut down since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But district officials say they have to submit a reopening plan to the county first and are still struggling to determine what the right plan should be.

One thing Olivia Baba and her older sister Sophia have determined during distance learning is that they want to get back in the classroom.

"It's just hard and overwhelming," said Sophia, a third grader.

"They have a right to an education, to a free and public education. And right now, it's been taken from them," said the girls' mother, Nobie Baba.

The Livermore Unified school district sent out a survey to parents asking them what they wanted. Officials also explained that a hybrid model wouldn't guarantee students returning to their same teacher or classroom.

"So some students will get new teachers. We will have to rebuild our classes if we move to hybrid model," said Chris Van Schaack with the Livermore Unified School District. "And some of our parents of indicated they would rather stay where they are than go to that kind of system, because they love their teachers."

Nobie Baba didn't buy that explanation.

"This is resulting in a lot of frustrated parents saying that what you promised us at the last board meeting is now caught up in a lot of strings attached, kind of obstacle course where they are basically trying to dissuade parents," she said.

Now Baba and other parents have started a petition to urge district officials to immediately reopen schools with a hybrid learning model. They have collected 500 signatures so far.

With signs in hand outside the meeting, students and parents are planning to speak before the school board Tuesday night. Sophia Baba's sign reads, "Don't destroy our future."

She also has a speech written for the open comments at the meeting.

"I'm a good student and I love school, but I can also tell you I'm not learning as much," Sophia said, reciting an excerpt of her speech.

If the school district decides to go with a hybrid model, officials are leaning towards a January start if they were to reopen.

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