PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Marches and rallies for groups pushing for both opening schools and keeping them closed took place in Portland Sunday.
Along Tilikum Crossing, demonstrators held a march and vigil to open schools. The group highlighted the mental health crisis in youths due in part to schools being closed.
They held a moment of silence for students in America who committed suicide during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked schools to reopen in Washington and Oregon.
Across the city, at the Portland Public Schools building, another group demonstrated to keep schools closed during the pandemic. The group is upset that Gov. Kate Brown changed metrics to allow reopening decisions to individual districts instead of the state as a whole.
The demonstrators planted small flags in memory of students and teachers who have died of COVID-19.
The group feels reopening too soon puts students, teachers, and other school employees unjustly in harm’s way.
“A vaccine is in sight. If we can be patient, then we can beat this, but if we rush into it, then there are lives that are going to be lost of people that are never going to have the chance to get the vaccine because we were not patient enough,” said Leeann Moldovanyi, a parent of students.
The group pointed out that the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated. That means the new metrics set with certain vaccine expectations are no longer attainable.