CAMAS, Ore. (KOIN) — Parents from multiple school districts in Clark County rallied Thursday to get students back in the classroom sooner rather than later.
A rally organized by United for In-Person Learning in Clark County was held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at all school district offices, including Vancouver, Washougal and Hoskinson school districts. Another rally took place at 3:30 p.m. at the Camas School District office, followed by a march past local businesses downtown.
They met at the Clark County District Office and marched into downtown Camas in their effort to get the school board to allow in-person learning.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, about 30 parents and students rallied at the Vancouver Public Schools after Gov. Jay Inslee’s new state recommendations — school with high COVID cases offer in-person instruction for elementary and high-needs students in small groups.
Inslee released updated metrics to help local leaders and school officials make decisions about in-person learning. Those metrics include updates to the COVID-19 incidence rates for leaders to consider when deciding which students to prioritize for in-person learning. The state also recommended leaders consider “test positivity and trends in cases and hospitalizations.”
“It’s better than nothing, I think its not quite as awesome as we had hoped especially for the older kids, the high schoolers, the middle schoolers,” parent Michelle Baker said. “There’s a lot of parents who have high schoolers that are really hoping they can get in.”
“We are the parents and we are asking [the district] and our board specifically what can we do to get our kids back in schools,” Heather Wynn said. “If you are simply relying on the numbers — it simply is not going to happen fast enough,” adding, “all students are suffering.”
Fellow parent Andrea Seeley agreed, saying the school boards and superintendent now have the power to open schools back up.
“Those are the people we are speaking to and asking to come to the table and talk to us and be more flexible and give us the choice,” she said. “We are just trying to let the school district know that we really want our kids to at least have a choice in going back to school.”
Vancouver Public School officials said they are reviewing the new guidance and will discuss it with local health officials. VPS will continue with their previously announced plans to bring small groups of students who are most at risk back for in-person instruction beginning January 7.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, the Camas School District said they adopted an adjusted reopening plan on Monday.
“We feel our plan is well aligned with Governor Inslee’s guidance released on Wednesday. The board will take some time to more closely review the guidance, and if they choose to hold a special meeting, we will publish notice in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.”