Feb. 22—NORTH ANDOVER — North Andover parents who want their kids back in school full-time have arranged a rally outside of the School Committee meeting Thursday evening.
As of Monday, 37 parents have signed up to attend the gathering through a Facebook group called Rally to Return.
At the present time, the North Andover public schools are in a hybrid model of learning that combines both in-person and online education.
"I would send my kids back today," said Abby Murphy, a parent of two boys, ages 5 and 6, who plans on attending the rally. "I've seen no issues. They do sports right now where they are not socially distancing at all."
In addition, at least 585 people have signed a petition on change.org called "Demand a Plan for Return to School in North Andover."
"We petition the North Andover School Committee to demand a plan to reopen schools to full-time time in-person learning from Superintendent Gilligan. Further, this plan is urgently needed and should be presented to the School Committee no later than March 4," said the petition, which was written and initiated by Jennifer Watson.
Some parents have expressed frustration with what they say is a lack of planning on the part of the school district, which was only exacerbated by an email sent to the school community by Superintendent Gregg Gilligan on Feb. 12.
In the email, Gilligan said he received concerns from frustrated parents seeking the full return of students to the classroom. He said he's also heard from parents who are satisfied with the hybrid model. There is no mention of when or how a full return to school would take place.
"I think there needs to be a plan. We just need to know what it is," said Murphy. "I just feel like there's just no transparency. If they are planning something, what needs to be done?"
Gilligan has not yet responded to a request for comment.
"Personally, I feel the email was just to calm angry parents. We are now going on a year. There are a lot of people that I know personally that are just going with the flow. Now they are starting to realize that something needs to be done," said Murphy.
When: Thursday, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Outside the school administrative building, 566 Main St.