DES MOINES, Iowa — Many teachers in the metro have expressed frustration with the governor’s proclamation requiring public schools to be in class for at least half of the school year.
A group of educators and allies will be holding a car procession titled, Drive For Lives, starting at East High School, with hopes of getting Gov. Kim Reynolds to rescind her proclamation. However, they want to make it known their issue isn’t about returning to school, but how it’s done.
“I want to teach. All of us want to teach. But we expect a science and reason-based approach to allow us to teach safely. For the drive, we intend to make that point known,” said Daniel Gutmann, founder of Drive for Lives.
As a teacher in the Des Moines district, Gutmann said he was pleased with the district’s original return-to-learn plan. This gave schools and parents the option of implementing 100% online learning or a hybrid learning model of online and in-person classes. For this reason, Gutmann and other organizers want the state to give autonomy back to school districts.
Gutmann said Drive For Lives is also about pushing schools with vague return-to-learn plans to work with public health experts and local elected officials on safe strategies based on COVID-19 data and trends with clear benchmarks.
Drive For Lives began as a Facebook group two weeks ago and now has over 3,000 members with over 600 confirmed to participate in their car procession. There will be Drive For Lives caravans taking place across the state, with participants from several school districts.
Gutmann said as teachers, their roles consist of not only educating kids but protecting them as well, and they’ll stop at nothing to do so.
“When you have thousands of teachers out there with their mama and papa bear instincts motivated to save kids’ lives, you’d be amazed at how quickly we can go from being quiet servants to our community, to being a force for advocacy for safety and health in our state,” Gutmann said.
The car procession will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Teachers who participate are asked to mark their cars with something red and allies to mark their cars with something blue. Participants are expected to meet at East High School between 12-12:45 p.m.
Organizers are asking onlookers not to view them at street level to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For more information about Friday’s event, visit the Drive For Lives Facebook page.