LIVERMORE (KPIX) — Many Bay Area parents and children have grown frustrated with distance-learning during the pandemic and even now some doctors have concerns about keeping kids home for so long.
Waving signs and greeted by honks of support, a group of Livermore parents staged a protest downtown saying it’s time to get their kids off Zoom and back into the classroom.
“It’s very hard for a 6-year-old to sit in front of a screen for hours no matter how wonderful their teacher is and she has an incredible teacher,” says mother Nobella Baba.
These parents say it’s not just about learning, but the social interaction the kids are missing, and that is messing with their mental health.
“He went through some separation anxiety, which his pediatrician says they are seeing all the time now, that kids are coming in for anxiety issues,” mom Susan Munkner said about her son.
Dr. Sam Pejham, a Stanford pediatrician, agrees. He says he’s seen a marked increase in children with mental health concerns in his practice.
“So we kind of looked at it as two things. One was the kids weren’t able to participate in things that they enjoy, um, their friends their sports, uh anywhere that it could relieve stress. And on the other side, they’re exposed to all this stressful news about COVID and what it was doing,” Dr. Pejham said via Zoom.
Alameda County announced on November 9, that schools could begin re-opening to hybrid learning, but Livermore Valley Unified has not.
These parents say they aren’t being cavalier about the health challenges of COVID-19, and that masking and social distancing are needed on campus. They say the even understand if their children can’t be back in class five days a week. But, they say kids need the structure that Zoom can’t provide.
“The hybrid model is really the next best outcome,” said Baba.