Over a dozen concerned parents, along with nearly the same amount of students gathered Saturday, Feb. 20 along Civic Drive and C Street to rally support to reopen schools.

Covering the four corners of the intersection, participants were met with friendly honks in support of their efforts and many passersby stopped to sign a petition encouraging local school districts to bring all kids back on campus.

Students ranged in ages from elementary to high school, with several students using a karaoke machine to solicit signatures and tell those in the area that they wanted to return to school.

Holding a sign, which said “SOS, Save Our Students”, Lake Canyon Elementary second grade student Kaden Ward used his time at the mic to encourage people to stop and sign the petition.

Others at the rally held signs, saying, “Classrooms are Essential”, “Teachers are Essential”, “CDC Says Schools Are Safe”; and mixed among the protesters were educators, one of which held a sign saying, “This Teacher Wants to Teach”.

Students held signs saying “No More Zoom, Put Us in the Classroom”, and “No More Delay, Let Us Play” decorated with basketballs.

Local resident Wes Mays stopped to sign the group’s petition, making it clear he wants the schools reopened to all students.

“Do you know what damage this is having on the kids?” Mays asked. “It’s terrible.”

Parents at the event shared stories of their struggling students, whether it be academically or emotionally.

“My daughter is so depressed,” one mother shared. “She’ll sit in front of that computer for class, then pretty much rolls over to her bed after ‘school’ and stays there until dinner, if we can get her to come out for that. She misses the structure that going to school brings; she misses her friends. You just can’t replace in-person interaction. Shame on those who selfishly are ignoring the problems that this lockdown is having on this generation.”

The parent noted that local school districts are doing what they can locally, but felt school district leadership should be helping to fight at the county and state level.

Local leaders stopped by to show their support of those at the rally. Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) Board President Tom Silva, Galt Mayor Shawn Farmer and GJUESD Superintendent Karen Schauer all stopped by the rally.

Although both Galt school districts have several small cohorts currently meeting on campuses, both districts are waiting for Sacramento County to advance to the less restrictive Red Tier 2 status under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan to bring back their other students.

Once that happens, both districts will establish a “hybrid” system. High school campuses will open to half the students attending classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other half meeting in person on Wednesdays and Fridays. All students at home will join their class on Zoom.

The elementary district will have half their students meet in the mornings, and the other half will meet on campuses in the afternoons. Like the high school students, elementary students will attend class on Zoom while at home.

Both districts will continue to offer all classes on Zoom for students and families that may be unable to attend in-person learning.