“Our lives are at stake”: Protestors demand distance learning

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE): While Governor Gina Raimondo gave her weekly press briefing on the state’s COVID-19 efforts, a small rally against in-person learning was held outside on Monday afternoon.

Over a dozen protestors stood outside the Veterans Memorial Auditorium demanding distance learning. A group of people also stayed in their cars, honking, holding up signs, and circling around the building.

“My biggest worry is my children or teachers going into school,” Ashley Breault, one of the event organizers, said. “It takes one to pass the virus and it’s a domino affect after that.”

Jeremy Sencer, Vice President of the Providence Teacher’s Union said he doesn’t believe schools meet the guidelines to safety reopen.

“Ventilation and the physical nature of our buildings have been neglected for decades and we don’t have guarantee those environments are safe for our kids or for our teachers,” Sencer said.

A small group of counter-protestors showed up and stood towards the side in support for in-person learning.

“I have 3 kids and I’m also a business owner and kids need to be back in school,” Heather Crosby, a mother from Barrington, said.

Crosby said distance learning in the Spring didn’t work for her family.

“I’m not a teacher by background and I have my work to do my husband has his work to do,” Crosby said. My kids do the best they can do but frankly it was tough.”

However, protestors said they were not going to let that get in the way of their message to go the governor.

“We aren’t going to stop,” Breault said. “We are going to fight. Our lives are at stake.”

During the press briefing, Raimondo said it’s very likely that she will announce the in-person reopening of schools on August 31st, based on the latest COVID-19 data.

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