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Hundreds of West Ada parents protest online learning decision

The protesters outside the West Ada district office said they are unhappy with the decision to start the school year with remote learning.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — A group of West Ada School District parents who say they are unhappy with the decision to start the school year with remote learning protested Monday morning outside of the district offices.

Several hundred people gathered outside the district office on East Central Drive. The group said they want the school board to change its decision to start school online on Sept. 8, and give parents the option to send their children back to in-person classes instead. 

Protesters held signs with slogans including "In School Is Cool," "Let Parents Decide," and "Open Schools." Members of the Eagle High School football team were also in attendance, carrying "Let Us Play" signs.

There was virtually no social distancing among members of the crowd. Some protesters wore masks, while many did not. 

RELATED: 'I don't want to be represented by those parents': West Ada mother voices support of district's decision to begin the year online

The West Ada School Board voted last week to begin the school year in the "red" category, meaning that students would not be allowed to return in person. Board members made the decision after considering the number of coronavirus cases in Ada County as well as the rate of community transmission, which remains high.

Students could start returning for in-person learning once Central District Health designates the school district in the "yellow" category, which indicates mild to moderate community spread of the virus. 

The board is set to meet again on Tuesday.

"It's difficult to say what influence today's rally will have on board members and if it will affect their decision," district spokesperson Char Jackson said. "But they are taking the hundreds of emails and phone calls and feedback they receive into account."

The start of the school year had previously been pushed back to Sept. 8 from Aug. 26.

RELATED: 'We cannot keep our kids hidden forever': West Ada School District parents push for in-person learning

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