FRESNO, California (KSEE) — Around 70 Fresno County parents, students, and a city Councilmember Garry Bredefeld protested the physical closure of school campuses near Palm and Herndon avenues on Thursday.
The protesters demanded children get back in the classroom as they shouted “open our schools”.
“They are suffering,” said parent Branden Sanchez. “I think our children are having a real hard time. We need to get our kids back in schools. It is unacceptable.”
Riley Chaney said his wife organized the protest. He said he has noticed the impact on his children’s mental health since campuses closed.
“Their self-esteem is down,” said Chaney. “We are letting them down.”
Fresno Teachers Association President Manuel Bonilla sympathizes with parents but said the schools aren’t ready just yet.
“We have to come back safely,” said Bonilla. “So making sure that when we are coming back procedures are in place to keep people healthy and if someone does get sick there are procedures to mitigate the spread.”
Fresno Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino said ultimately the state makes the final decision and right now Fresno County has too many COVID-19 cases to meet the metrics.
“We are obligated to follow the requirements and we are also obligated to see what is happening in our county. So we cannot ignore the number of cases. The encouraging news is that those numbers are going down so we need to continue to do that,” Yovino said.
Yovino encouraged the community to social distance, wear masks, and avoid gathering. Yovino’s office has unveiled a new informational website for community members to use to slow the spread.