Student Advocates Demand COVID-19 Protections
Janet Jurado got her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday at Family Health Services in Logan heights. She’s a nurse assistant and mother of three young children with another baby on the way. She also survived a bad case of COVID last November.
"It was scary. A lot of people were dying," she said.
Jurado's older children will start school on Monday, but at knows she has to protect her young children who start school on Monday.
“My ten year old, my seven year old know right now what we're going through with the whole pandemic. They know they have to wear masks. I'm obviously going to offer for them to have hand sanitizer to use it before they have lunch or to wash their hands,” Jurado said.
A joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows children made up 22.4% of the nation's hospitalizations and total cases last week.
Those statistics prompted a coalition of youth advocacy groups to hold a virtual news conference Thursday, to demand schools do more to protect students. They said they are planning active demonstrations across the country to make sure school boards, administrators, and elected officials take precautions that have been proven to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect the health, safety and right to education of young people.
“In order to increase the rate of people being vaccinated, we must include teens in the effort,” said Arin Parsa, a teenager from San Jose who founded Teens For Vaccines. His organization now has chapters across the country. On its website, the group offers information about COVID-19, the vaccines available, and advice for teenagers on talking to parents who may be opposed to masking or vaccinations.
GenerationUp is another student advocacy group in the movement. Incoming U.C. San Diego sophomore Genavieve Koenigshofer is a member of GeneratonUp. She is also immunocompromised, and said she is committed to helping fellow college students find their voice to save lives. “I’m sad that not enough students have figured it out yet, she said. "I do have hope because more of them are willing to speak out and learn how to shape their own future.”