Fed up, frustrated and frightened students across the country staged a nationwide protest, walking out of their schools to protest the schools’ inconsistent response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coordinated on Instagram, students in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Oakland, Maryland and New Jersey suburbs and other cities chose days last week to leave their classrooms to demand that local leaders do more to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most walkout organizers agreed to persuade school systems to enforce a two-week period for remote learning, provide sufficient technology for distance learning, and equip teachers and staff with Personal Protective Equipment.
“We will then stand there for exactly 10 minutes, one minute for every hundred thousand new COVID-19 cases found on the 2nd of January,” according to a post from the Massachusetts COVID Walkout Instagram page.
Boston Public Schools told ABC News that it “believes deeply in students advocating for what they believe in.”
“We further believe it is critically important that we encourage and support them in expressing their concerns, beliefs and positions to their leaders,” the statement said. “We will continue to listen to our students and families as we navigate this latest surge and the impacts it has on our ability to remain in person and deliver a quality education.”
Students in Chicago left their classes on Friday and walked toward the administrative offices of the Chicago Public School District. The walkout comes just days after school was canceled because of Chicago Teachers Union’s concerns over surging COVID cases. The pupils chanted, “No more oppression, change is now in session!” and “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.”
It remains to be seen what standard policies will be put into place due to the walkouts. Referring to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to Reuters, “I think CPS is listening, but I’m not sure they’ll make a change,” said Jaden Horten, a junior at Jones College Prep High School, during a rally at district headquarters that drew around a thousand students.