SAN JOSE, Calif. - How to keep kids and teachers safe from COVID-19 is a hot button issue especially since most young children can't get the vaccine.
Outside Quimby Oak Middle School in San Jose on Thursday, a group of educators rallied. They said the Evergreen School District is failing when it comes to planning and preparing them for COVID-19.
"We still have a lot of confusion," said Suzanne Lima who is the president of Evergreen Teachers Association. "There is not clear communication around what happens when there’s a positive case in our classroom when it comes to testing and quarantining."
She said schools have been left to interpret Covid-19 guidelines on their own, putting kids at risk.
"At the top of everyone’s priority right now in any school district is the safety of our kids and the safety of our staff," said Emy Flores, Evergreen School District Superintendent.
Flores said so far, there are 18 positive COVID cases among students and staff since the start of the school year.
Due to the rise in infections, mask wearing outdoors is now required.
"With the health guidance the way that it is, it is a living document," said Flores. "Things are changing and our latest guidance coming from Public Health was on September 1."
"To say it’s a living document is true but you should be at least up to date with where we are at," said Lima.
The teachers concerns come as new numbers from the San Francisco Public Health Department show cases among people under 18 years of age remain low. Right now, they make up 11.5% of COVID cases, no San Francisco children are hospitalized and no outbreaks have occurred in schools.
San Mateo Union High School District is exploring requiring children be vaccinated for extra-curricular activities. It means if a student wants to participate in sports, clubs outside of the school day or plays, they’ll need to get the shot.
"We really feel like extra-curricular are a privilege not a right," said Kevin Skelly, San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent.
At a school board meeting Thursday, community members expressed concerns about mandating the vaccine on their children.
"I understand it was rushed through this vaccine that's fine," said Liz, parent. "We do not have the data of long term effects of this"
"The unvaccinated, that’s their parents’ choice, not theirs, they are going to be kicked to the curb," said Parent Laurel Peters.
The proposed policy in San Mateo Union High School District gives students until September 20 to get the first dose of the vaccine or get an exemption.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.