MERIDIAN, Idaho — Hundreds of parents gathered outside the West Ada School District building on Monday morning to protest the district's decision to begin the school year remotely.
Parents flashed signs asking for the district to give them a choice in sending their children to school rather than relying on Central District Health's recommendation of remote learning only.
Shortly after the rally, CDH extended Boise, Kuna and West Ada School District's placement in the red category, meaning there is substantial community spread of the COVID-19 virus in those districts.
The West Ada School Board is sticking with its original decision but will reevaluate conditions after the first week of classes.
The group that showed up in front of the district building this morning claims they represent the majority of parents who want their children to be back in school. One local mom, however, does not believe that.
Kim Bradford is the mother of two Mountain View High School students and said those families demanding in-person classes do not represent the majority of parents.
Bradford looks forward to the day students can safely return to the classroom.
"Back to school is the best time of the year. I'm the one dancing behind the bus on the first day of school," Bradford said. "Trust me, this is not fun for anybody. Everybody wants their kids to be back at school, the kids want it, the parents want it, it's normal. We all miss normal."
Her two children, one of which has special needs, also want to return to school. Her daughter is missing out on socializing with her friends in a safe way while her son is missing out on the learning services he needs.
"Right now, it's just not safe," Bradford said. "We just have to slow down and wait for the time to be right."
The parents that gathered in front of the building Monday morning claim they represent the majority of families. However, authorities like CDH are designed to make decisions on behalf of the people and parents should rely on that, according to Bradford.
"I think it's wrong to just force our way into the school, yell enough to get the doors open, that's just wrong," Bradford said. "I can't get behind that and I don't want to be represented by those parents."
Back in July, parents were asked how likely they were to send their children back to school for in-person classes on a scale of one to 10. About 62% of people answered six.
"They did it on a scale. It wasn't yes or no, so there's a fuzzy area there," Bradford said. "If they were to send out another survey where more people said, 'Yes, let's send them starting now,' I'll do it."
Her understanding is that more people want to stay safe and stay home.
"The CDC is saying that it's not time to go back yet," Bradford said. "We're still in red, so when we go to yellow my kids will go."
During their last board meeting, West Ada gave the superintendent the discretion to move into some form of in-person learning even while being in the red category.
However, the district said they are keeping students online for at least the first week.
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