Parents upset Alameda County won't apply for waivers to hold in-person classes just yet

In Alameda County, parents are frustrated and confused as to why the health department won't allow waivers for in-person instruction.

Contra Costa County is accepting applications. Santa Clara County has even had some approved. But despite state guidelines allowing these waivers for elementary schools, Alameda County has said no.

"Why are other counties doing this and not Alameda County. If there's a reason for it I'd love to hear it. But I'm not hearing the rationale. And it's hard when we see other counties whose numbers aren't as good as ours starting this process," says Laura Maestrelli, an Alameda County parent.

Meanwhile, Alameda County is allowing other activities to resume: everything from wine tastings to outdoor salon services to pools.

"Those are all great things. And I would have loved pools to open up back in the summer when we had kids home all day with nothing to do. But right now I don't need a pool for my kids. I need a classroom," said Maestrelli.

There is a glimmer of hope. On Friday, the County Health Department issued a statement saying they are "planning to gauge interest from Alameda County schools in applying for waivers..."

"Obviously there are schools that are asking us whether the waiver process is going to be initiated. This is really the first movement we've had toward that," said Michelle Smith McDonald of the Alameda County Office of Education.

In the meantime, local parents have formed online groups pushing for change and have started circulating a petition. 

"We're just kind of wringing our hands saying what about the kids? And we're starting to talk to each other. We're starting to organize," said Maestrelli.

She said distance learning just doesn't work for everyone, "right now that's all we need to hear is that it's a priority to get these kids back in the classroom. And we're not getting that."