San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on Thursday, along with a contingent of parents, health officials and community members, continued his push for reopening schools, urging local collaboration to resume in-person learning.
Liccardo said during a news conference that national, state and local health officials have said it is safe to get students back into elementary schools.
"Throughout this pandemic, we have been told to follow the science," Liccardo said. "Medical experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci ... the California Department of Public Health and indeed our own public health department here in the county of Santa Clara have all indicated that schools can open, and in fact, they can open even without vaccinations of teachers and staff."
Liccardo added that with the schools still closed in San Jose, many students have felt abandoned, especially those in underserved communities.
The mayor urged three main points of focus: start vaccinations with elementary schools; practice equity with reopenings by prioritizing schools in "less-affluent" communities; and avoid putting anyone at risk by providing options for teachers, students and parents to continue distance learning if they're uncomfortable with returning to campus.
The news conference took place in front of Horace Mann Elementary School, 55 N. Seventh St., as a call for finding a path to get students safely back into their K-5 classrooms and for prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and staff.
Liccardo said the group pushing to reopen schools has a petition with about 3,200 signatures on it.
Also speaking at the news conference were Dr. Angela Bymaster, family medicine physician with Healing Grove Health Center and Maria Marcelo, engagement director with Healing Grove Health Center, along with at least three parents from the San Jose school community.