Parents starting COVID-19 school safety petition in Tacoma

Parents in Tacoma are organizing a petition to raise concerns about COVID safety at school.

Emily Kalteich is a mom of two, a first grader and preschooler, who are both attending Fawcett Elementary.

"Nerves, you know, I think there’s a little bit of anticipation," said Kalteich. "Obviously with delta, COVID, it’s a little nerve-racking."

Tacoma Public Schools is welcoming students back into the classroom on September 8. It’s one of the largest school districts in the state and serves about 30,000 students.

The district is taking COVID-19 prevention measures such as masking, sitting three feet apart in the classrooms, and contact tracing. Students will be required to be six feet apart in common areas such as the cafeteria. 

Students are no longer required to fill out a health survey daily, but only when the student is showing COVID-19 symptoms.

"This petition is really to ask for more transparency to the public and to parents," said Kalteich, "and then to ask for specific guidance on support for options like eating outside or rotating with cafeterias and classrooms."

RELATED: Pierce, King counties require masks for all at large outdoor gatherings starting Sept. 7

Sergey Manchik is a parent in the Auburn School District with a son starting kindergarten next week. He said the benefits of going to school outweigh the risks of catching COVID. 

"There is going to be masking, there’s going to be distancing as it allows," said Manchik. "Kids in kindergarten really need that social aspect of interacting with other kids, learning how to play together, so I’m more concerned about that versus the possibility of him getting sick with COVID."

A record number of children have contracted COVID this summer, and Kalteich said parents like herself need additional support to know their children will stay safe during the current surge.

"Right now it’s being called the disease of the unvaccinated and that’s our kids," said Kalteich.

Parents have started a Facebook group focused on organizing supports for parents in Tacoma.

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