Bay Area parents rally urging leaders to reopen schools: 'Remote learning, a cruel joke'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Families rallied in the Bay Area Saturday, all with the same plea to reopen public schools for in-person learning. Some say remote learning is not working and young students are suffering as a result.

A small group of parents and kids marched to San Francisco City Hall with a big message.

"Remote learning doesn't work at all," said parent Daniel Kotzin.

Kotzin says his 5-year-old is falling behind.

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"I'm a stay-at-home parent. We have reliable WIFI. My son still doesn't know how to read. He's in kindergarten. Remote learning, it's cruel joke," said Kotzin.

These parents say they want to see the district open schools for in-person learning.

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"I'm here in support of all the parents in San Francisco who would like to have their children go back to school, get a safe education and resume normal life," said parent Erica Sandberg.

In Berkeley, parents echoed the same complaint, distance learning has been a failure.

"We're all frustrated with our school district," said parent Lei Levy.

The rally at MLK Park brought families together. 8th grader Ella Hainsworth talked about her struggles.

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"It's hard for a lot of people, my mental health has not been great during Zoom school, it's all been chaotic," she said.

"We really believe guided by science, our schools could be reopened," Levy added.

In a statement the school district said:

"Berkeley Unified is currently working diligently to be ready to reopen our schools in a hybrid model that will balance families differing needs at the point that state and county health officials indicate that it is safe."

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The Berkeley School Board has approved January 13 and January 20, 2021 as target dates for pre-k through fifth grade to resume hybrid classroom learning,

No plan yet for middle or high schools.

San Francisco Unified set its target of January 25th for the first wave of schools to open for in-person learning.

RELATED: Elementary school kids not shy about sharing their thoughts on distance learning

Even on the eve of a new shutdown order, Mayor London Breed remains focused on education.

"We absolutely must continue our work to reopen our public schools," said Breed.

But some parents want to see their kids back in the classroom sooner than later.

"The kids are suffering every day they're not in school," said Levy.

Check out more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area.


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