OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – “We will keep speaking up until you do what’s right and we will not reopen the schools, we will not send our children back and risk their lives like they don’t matter,” Karyn Vratimos said.

Protesters took to the streets to voice their concerns about plans to reopen schools in Oakland.

Educators say it’s not safe to return to school during the pandemic until COVID-19 testing is widely available.

Parents and teachers held a caravan protest and traveled from East Oakland to downtown. Their message: they don’t want any schools reopening this fall. 

Cars made way through Broadway and 11th Street Wednesday evening.

Then the group gathered outside Oakland Unified School District’s headquarters.

Opposing plans to resume school in the fall 2020 semester.

“We are not going to sacrifice our students and children to Donald Trump and the push by anyone to move to the schools before this pandemic is under control,” Mark Airgood said.

President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for schools if they don’t open in the fall.

Adarene Hoag is a special education resource teacher at East Oakland Pride Elementary.

“I cannot let a child fall down and be crying on the ground without picking them up without offering them care. There is no such thing as social distancing at school,” Hoag said.

The group is calling for everyone in the community to get tested and says school should not resume with any COVID-19 cases out there.

Karyn Vratimos was here in support of other parents.

“We need a foundation that is strong and has a plan. You can’t give these teachers just until the end of the month and say now we’re going to make this decision for you and you don’t have a voice. The parents were given a survey in San Francisco where we can fill out but the teachers were told that the board of education will make the call on their lives,” Vratimos said.

An OUSD spokesperson says the district is working with the state, Alameda County Departments of Education and the Public Health Department to determine the resumption of school in the fall of 2020.

In a statement, the district says they received nearly 8,000 surveys about the new school year:

“OUSD continues to work with the California Department of Education, the Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda County Public Health Department, and our labor partners in determining the best path forward for the resumption of school in the Fall 2020 semester. We are following the latest guidance to inform our decisions and will be releasing our current recommendations for reopening on Friday, July 10. We convened a reopening action team and have engaged students, families, staff and community members through work-groups, surveys, etc. to develop the OUSD reopening plan. We’ve received nearly 8000 completed surveys which show a wide range of opinions about the new school year. On one survey, while more than 20% of respondents said they don’t plan to send their students to school for in-person instruction, more than 60% said they plan to send their students to school. Of course, we recognize the different concerns raised by members of our school communities. We will take all of this into consideration as we make a final decision about the reopening of schools in the coming weeks. Whether we resume school through all distance learning or some kind of blended model of part distance learning and part in-class instruction, the 2020-21 school year begins on Monday, August 10.”

The Oakland Unified School District will be releasing their current recommendations for reopening on Friday.

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