The way forward for high school students in the fight against the pandemic and the reopening of schools | #students | #parents

High school students throughout the country are on the move! Thousands of students from Oakland, California to New York City are organizing opposition to the unsafe return to in-person learning amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of students in New York City walked out of their classrooms in over 30 schools to protest the unsafe conditions. The action, organized through social media, forced the closure of several schools throughout the city.

Nearly a thousand students have signed onto a district wide online student petition in Oakland, California, stating that students “are not comfortable going to school with the rising cases of COVID-19.” The students are fighting for an end to in-person learning and proper PPE and testing if and when they do return to the classroom.

New York students during the walkout (Credit: @mwatsonnyc)

In Boston, Massachusetts, in less than a week, over 5,000 students signed a petition posted by a senior at Boston Latin School. Similar situations are developing across the West Coast, including significant protests in Portland, Oregon that forced the closure of the schools.

The current center of the opposition to school reopenings is in Chicago, Illinois where thousands of educators voted overwhelmingly last Tuesday to teach remotely until January 18. However, late Monday night the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) pushed through a vote at a House of Delegates meeting to “suspend” the teachers’ remote work action and resume in-person learning on Wednesday, before a vote by the whole membership.

Outraged at the collaboration of their union with the local politicians to force them back into schools, teachers and students have begun to organize their fight independently.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), the youth and student movement of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), welcomes and supports this courageous stand taken by students. In fighting against the unsafe reopening of schools, these youth are fighting not only for their own health and safety, but for the community as a whole.

We urge students who are participating in these struggles, or wish to join them, to share this statement widely and contact the IYSSE today.

The IYSSE is a socialist youth group, fighting to link up the struggle of students and youth with teachers, parents and other workers in a common fight against the reckless “herd immunity” policy of the entire political establishment, which encourages the virus to run rampant, regardless of the carnage.

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