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Central Coast parents urging education leaders to reopen schools

Courtesy of Shannon Galvin
Central Coast Families for Education Reform wants in-person learning to be an option for students.

As some students struggle with remote learning, Central Coast parents have started a group urging the reopening of schools for all grade levels. 

More than 800 parents, students and community members have joined the Central Coast Families for Education Reform. Creator Shannon Galvin says her two teenagers—who attend Arroyo Grande High School—are seriously struggling with remote learning. 

“It’s awful," Galvin said. "They aren’t motivated, my son doesn’t want to leave his room and get out of his bed.”

Galvin said her son got F’s most of the fall term.

“And we are killing ourselves to just try and get them up to passing grades before the end of the semester,” Galvin said.

Her son is not alone in the struggle, according to first-quarter grades released by Lucia Mar School District. At the high school level, F’s increased by 185% and in junior high, they increased by 73%.

But Galvin said her sons’ failing grades are the least of their worries. 

“The mental health part of it and what it’s doing to them mentally is far worse than what it's doing to them academically,” Galvin said.

The group is urging school districts throughout the county to allow the option of in-person learning. 

“Going back to school in person is not the best option for everyone at this particular time," Galvin said. "But it needs to be an option because distance learning is failing for a lot of our children.”

Amy Jacobs with the Lucia Mar School District said they are aware of the group, and share concerns about the rise in failing grades.

Jacobs said the district is tackling the problem in a variety of ways—from having small in-person learning pods for struggling students to extending deadlines for students late on assignments.

But Jacobs said it’s not possible to reopen schools at all levels until the county is the red tier for two weeks.

Galvin said she’s disappointed local districts didn’t act sooner to reopen, since then the schools could have remained open under the current state-mandated restrictions.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.