Students walk out of classes in New York City over COVID-19 protections
Hundreds of students in New York City staged walkouts on Tuesday to protest what they said is a lack of COVID-19 safety protocols in city schools.
Brooklyn Technical High School, a public magnet school with a few thousand students, saw a large walkout, with about 200 students leaving the school on Tuesday to demand remote or hybrid learning amid concerns about the uptick in cases driven by the omicron variant, according to ABC 7.
One student from the school, Jaida Sahin, told ABC 7 that she believed “having all these children stacked on top of each other especially in schools as large as Brooklyn Tech is not ideal.”
“I think just having that hybrid option would just alleviate the stress and make everything a little bit safer for everyone,” she said.
A significant walkout was also reported at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, where students clamored for similar pandemic protocols. Three students at that school, who were upset with the lack of virtual options, had coordinated the walkouts on social media and looped in other schools like Brooklyn Tech, amNY reported.
In a tweet on Tuesday, New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said he would meet with students to discuss strategies to navigate the latest wave of the pandemic.
“We understand the concerns of our school communities during this crisis,” he wrote. “The best decisions are made when everyone has a seat at the table—I’m inviting student leaders to meet with me so we can work together for safe and open schools.”
The protests are the latest development in a clash over how schools should operate during the pandemic, with some advocating for hybrid and remote options to keep people safe and others arguing that depriving students of in-person learning hinders their education.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Teacher’s Union ended a multiday strike after reaching a deal with city leaders and the school district on pandemic safety protocols. And in Oakland, Calif., more than 900 students signed a petition saying they will walk out and not attend classes if their demands for COVID-19 safety protocols are not met, according to The Washington Post.
New York City has reported more than 32,000 COVID-19 cases each day for the past week’s seven-day average and 657 daily average hospitalizations, according to city data.
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