KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The fight for an in-person learning option continues in Kalamazoo after the school board upheld the superintendent's decision to remain fully virtual throughout the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Kalamazoo Central senior Humberto Zamora has been collecting signatures to urge the board to find an alternative. In preparation to submit the petition, Zamora and his peers plan to rally in front of the administration's building Thursday afternoon and, later in the evening, submit the petition documents at the regularly scheduled school board meeting.
"I just got sick and tired of this whole situation," said Zamora, as he described what prompted him to make the petition. "I realized that this wasn't really who I was. I wasn't just going to sit back and just let this happen, because at the end of the day, even if nothing comes out of this, even if we still go back virtual, I would regret knowing that I could have at least tried. It's been a very demotivating year where it's hard for students such as myself to find a reason to even get out of bed, because, quite frankly, we don't have anything to look forward to for the next day."
KPS remains an outlier as one of the only major districts in the state without a hybrid or in-person learning model for parents and students to choose from. At the last school board meeting, the district cited multiple factors for the decision including a lack of staff and resources, fear of COVID spreading among the student population, and overall consistency for students. The board also stated the teachers union influenced the decision with the safety of staff in mind.
In the last school board meeting, students and parents spoke out about the decision. Comment continued for several hours, with one mother saying she has gone so far as to move her family to a district hours away to access an in-person learning model. Other parents claimed they would be looking for a new district for their children citing disappointment in KPS's handling of learning models during the pandemic.
So far, the petition has garnered more than 620 signatures from parents and families.
Zamora and his peers who have worked on the petition say they are hopeful it may sway the school board to make a different decision.