U.S. students stage walkouts to protest against classes held in-person against Omicron.
Chicago: Students from Boston and Chicago took to the streets in Chicago and Boston on Friday to protest the switch to online learning after an increase in COVID-19 cases, fueled through the Omicron variant slowed efforts at returning to traditional in-person learning across the United States.
In Chicago, the third-largest education district strike was held two days after classroom instruction was resumed for 340,000 students who were unable to attend classes during a five-day shutdown by teachers’ unions who demanded more rigorous COVID-19 protections.
Students who protested claimed they were not happy with the health-related protocols that the teachers’ union ratified in the past week, which ended their dispute with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district and mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“I believe CPS is paying attention. However, I’m not certain they’ll change their ways,” said Jaden Horten, a student in Jones College Prep High School, during a rally at the district’s headquarters that attracted about 1000 students.
The demonstration was in response to students walking out of various schools in the city.
According to the district, 600 youngsters who attended 11 Boston schools took part in protests by students,, which has over 52,000 students. Students who protested returned to classes later, while some returned home after participating in peaceful protests.
A petition on the internet initiated by an Boston high school student called schools a “COVID-19 breeder” and requested the possibility of learning remotely received more than 8,000 sign-ups by the morning of Friday.
The Boston Student Advisory Council who organized the protest and posted a string demanding demands via Twitter which included the need for two weeks of internet-based education and more rigorous COVID-19 tests for students and teachers.
The most recent outbreak of infection has brought back the debate about the need to keep schools open.
The authorities are balancing concerns about the highly infectious Omicron variant and the possibility that children will get further behind academically in the wake of two decades of start-and-stop instruction.
The result is an array of COVID-19-related policies worldwide that has caused parents to feel overwhelmed and confused.
Ash O’Brien, a 10th-grade student at Boston Latin School who left the building along with around 12 other students on Friday, told the Boston Latin School that he felt unsafe at school.
“I have two grandparents who suffer from an immune impairment,” he said. “So I’m not going go to school and risk becoming sick, and then return and be a burden to them.”
In an official statement, Boston Public Schools said it supports students who advocate for their beliefs and has pledged to be attentive to their concerns.
In the last week, students at several New York City schools staged an action to protest their inadequacies in security measures.
City Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday that his administration was looking into the possibility of a temporary remote learning program for many students in their homes.
Nearly 5,000 schools across the United States are scheduled to be closed for at most one day in the past week because of the pandemic, according to Burbio, which is a website that tracks disruptions at schools.
The Omicron increase is slowing in regions of the nation that was the first to be hit.
In the past week, the daily average count of new cases has only increased by 5percent across Northeastern and Southern states, compared to the previous seven days, according to a media analysis.
In the Western states, on the other hand, the number of cases reported each day has increased by 89% over the last week, compared to the previous week.
All in all, it appears that the United States is still tallying around 800,000 new infections every day, with a record-breaking number of hospitalized patients suffering from COVID-19.
Eric is a professional news editor, writer, and blogger for the last 10 years. He is working with NewsGater as an off-beat news editor cum writer.