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Amid Omicron, some parents opt for home schooling

01/14/2022 | 01:20pm EST

These days, this is what school looks like for 5-year-old C.J. and 8-year-old Cambria - a desk and a playground side by side in the backyard of their Burbank, California home.

Despite school being open for in-person classes, their mother Yelena Wheeler - a healthcare worker - says she doesn't feel safe sending them back amid a surge in the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

"It's just sending kids to a 'chicken pox party' at this point. And even though the CDC saying everyone's going to get it, do we all have to get it right now at this point in time, and to tax our healthcare system even more?"

Across the U.S., schools are following protocols that vary from state to state and even city to city.

Some districts require masks and regular testing, but others do not. And that has left many parents frustrated.

Wheeler was one of a group of parents who recently held a seven-hour meeting with their school district demanding there be mandatory testing.

"We did everything imaginable and now the school districts are like 'We don't have funds' (EDIT) But it's one thing if all other districts were not doing mandatory testing, but one of our biggest districts, right next door to us, three blocks away from here, LAUSD, has mandatory testing and we don't."

The Biden administration this week announced it will double COVID-19 testing capacity in schools with 10 million more tests.

But parents like Wheeler say unless they see real change in their schools to make them more safe, home schooling will continue.


ę Reuters 2022
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