A year into the pandemic, less than half of students in the United States are attending public schools that offer traditional full-time schedules. Now, many parents frustrated with the pace of reopening are starting to rebel.
Some are making contingency plans to relocate, home-school or switch to private education if their children’s routines continue to be disrupted this fall — a real possibility as some local school officials and teachers’ unions argue for aggressive virus mitigation measures to continue.
Other parents are filing lawsuits, agitating at public meetings, creating political action committees or running for school board seats. Most recognize the danger of the virus but believe schools can open safely.
The Philadelphia region has become a focal point of such activism. Like many left-leaning metropolitan areas across the country, its elected officials, teachers’ unions and health agencies have urged strict caution, putting most districts on hybrid schedules, while some remain fully remote. In the city of Philadelphia, a reopening deal between the teachers’ union and district appears imminent, but is expected to bring back only a portion of the youngest students.