Orange County students plan to strike in support of teachers

A group of high school students from the Huntington Beach Union High School District has organized a strike after they say teachers aren’t being given the option to continue the second semester with distanced learning. 

"This is basically students not attending their zoom classes, however in order to do it in a responsible way we are emailing our teachers for work beforehand just to make sure we aren’t striking for the wrong reasons. We’re doing this just to prove our point that we stand with our teachers in this sense," said Huntington Beach High School Junior Sam Shaw. 

As many as 16,000 students across the district are being asked to strike by either not attending Zoom classes or skipping classroom instruction for 30 minutes to an hour. 

"Teachers should not be forced back into the classrooms until they are able to get vaccinated," said Shaw. 

In an online petition that has garnered over 700 signatures, students say teachers are being forced to return to the classroom or take a leave of absence. 

The petition on argues that the decision "gives teachers a terrifying ultimatum: their lives or their jobs, their bills and rent or their lives, their students or their families."

"They need to school as long as the schools have structure in place. I would like my kid in school," said HBHS parent Ann Lee. 

Officials with the Huntington Beach Union High School District have not commented on the student-planned strike despite multiple attempts to obtain a response.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has prioritized teachers in his vaccination plan, but supply and distribution issues have prevented teachers below the age of 65 from getting the vaccine. 

RELATED: California allowing residents 65 and older to get COVID-19 vaccine

On Jan. 25, Gov. Newsom announced the suspension of the regional stay-at-home order in Southern California, despite the ICU capacity remaining at zero percent. Citing this, HBUHSD released a statement on January 26, stating their plans to re-open to continue with its hybrid learning program on Feb. 2.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention said in a recent study that there is little evidence of spreading infection at schools with proper safety protocol in place, such as physical distancing, proper ventilation and masks.

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