Frustrated families stage 'Zoom-in' outside San Francisco schools

Frustrated parents and students who are fed up with Zoom class are holding distance-learning classes outside their closed schools in the San Francisco Unified School District.

They’re taking part in what they call "Zoom-Ins" to bring awareness to the struggle many kids have been facing for nearly a year.

On Thursday, the group met in Midtown Terrace Park. They put out blankets and chairs and did Zoom class outside to make themselves visible to the public.

"They are suffering at home and so we wanted to bring them out and let our city see our children and let them be heard," said Viviane Safrin, a parent and one of the organizers of the event.

Thomas, a first-grader in San Francisco said he misses school and wants to learn in a classroom, not at home.

"I want to see my live teacher, not a screen," said Thomas.

Kids say they’re sick of staring at screens for hours every day.

"Being on a screen so long hurts my eyes," said Ayla, who is in 4th grade. "It makes my brain feel mashed up like mashed potatoes. It makes me feel groggy, it makes me lose my focus. I don’t like it. Not at all."

Organizers say the school closures during the pandemic have led to mental health issues for some students, learning loss, and say many private schools have figured out how to safely reopen – so the city’s public schools should too.

"Our children desperately want to go back to school and be live with their teachers interact with their friends in a school environment in a safe way," said Safrin.

Just two weeks ago, the city of San Francisco sued its own school district and the Board of Education to pressure them to reopen classrooms.

Since then, six elementary schools have been cleared to reopen for in-person learning. But there’s still no set date when that will happen.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the district wrote, "Like the vast majority of other school districts across the state we remain in distance learning. We understand students and families are struggling and we are looking forward to seeing our students back in classrooms. We cannot reopen schools without our employees so must consider and address their concerns.  We're getting closer and we’re hopeful that we will be able to offer the option of hybrid in-person learning soon."