On Tuesday January 11 at exactly 11:52 AM, students from across New York City will get up and exit their classrooms in a show of protest against what they feel are unsafe learning conditions.
“The ultimate goal of the walkout is to close NYC public schools temporarily in light of the rising COVID cases,” reads an Instagram statement from the group NYC Student Walkout for COVID Safety “If we’re unable to get schools to shut down, the walkout will give students a platform to discuss alternative goals, such as: 1) Remote options/blended learning, 2) More frequent and diversified COVID testing for students and staff, 3) Improved DOE health screening.”
It’s a move that has the support of the North Brooklyn’s own CEC District 14, the city-mandated advisory committee that represents each district, made up of mostly of current parents.
“We encourage our district 14 community to take a stand for and with our students- and the long-standing and consistent advocacy of parents and teachers- by supporting any students who may want to participate in this Tuesday’s walkout,” the group wrote in an Instagram post. “No threats. No penalization. No absences. No holding missed work over their heads. The fact New York City public school students have been put in a position where they need to stage a walk out during a global pandemic is an abomination.
Almost immediately into his tenure, Mayor Eric Adams faced the issue of whether or not to open schools again after a COVID-filled winter break. In an interview with Face The Nation, Adams cited concerns that students might fall behind with the disruptive nature of resuming remote learning and referred to school buildings as the safest place to be.
School staff are required to be vaccinated and masked up, but not everyone feels that those are adequate enough measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Student attendance rates have fallen, and the virus has led to staffing shortages that make in-person learning difficult in some schools. In some schools, poor ventilation systems have exacerbated rates of COVID-19.