Teachers, students and families plan to protest the Cobb County School District’s back-to-school plan next Thursday and march to the school board meeting.
School ROCS, or “reopen our classrooms safely,” is hosting a protest that starts at 5 p.m. Thursday at Larry Bell Park.
The group will sign a petition at the park and at 6 p.m. will march to the school district headquarters with a list of demands “to reopen school as safely as possible for ALL students and staff,” per a statement from School ROCS.
The group has a list of demands for the school board, as follows:
♦ Postpone the school start date until a safe, realistic, comprehensive plan is in place.
♦ Allow local school clusters to determine their own phased reopening plans, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach in which everyone returns to school at the same time.
♦ Provide a comprehensive and descriptive plan for how schools will follow CDC guidelines, and support that plan by providing PPE and cleaning products to schools.
♦ Provide a contingency plan for suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19 while on school buses or grounds.
Provide a plan and resources to address technology access for low-income ♦ families who would prefer virtual schooling but are currently unable to do so.
♦ Devote at least one full workday during pre-planning toward anti-racism and equity training at every school, led by someone with a background in critical race theory who is not a CCSD employee.
Earlier this month, the district released plans to reopen schools with options for in-person instruction and remote learning. Last week, the school board pushed back the school start date two weeks to Aug. 17.
Leroy Tre Hutchins, who will fill the seat held by retiring Cobb school board member David Morgan in January, said he is acting as a spokesperson for the group after multiple school district employees reached out to him with their concerns, and parents and students have also gotten involved.
Hutchins, who has children in Cobb schools, said one of the main things parents want is more time to make an informed decision on whether to send their children back to classrooms in-person.
“I just feel like we’re going to get too much information and not enough information all at the same time. And that’s what’s frustrating, because we have a month before school starts, and there are so many moving parts and so many pieces that parents have to make a decision on, that they really need more than a month to make those decisions,” he said.
Hutchins said that he wants to see a hybrid in-person and virtual model for students that do attend classes on campus. He also said that mandatory masks in schools is “non-negotiable.”
Cobb school board Chairman Brad Wheeler said the feedback he’s received from families and employees on the reopening plan is “all over the board.”
“Everybody’s got an opinion on what to do and how to do it,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said he anticipates more details on the plan to be made public Friday, as the district is issuing weekly updates.
The school board meets at 7 p.m. next Thursday at 514 Glover St. in Marietta.
The School ROCS group is encouraging attendees to speak during public comment at the meeting if it will be held in person, or contact school board members and other elected officials. To promote safety, according to the group, the protest will have “mask-wearing and physical distancing.”
For more information, visit the School ROCS Protest Facebook page.