Skip to Content
Columbia Public Schools

Group organizes to push Columbia Public Schools to delay reopening

Columbia Public Schools Administration building sign


Organizers of a protest outside Tuesday night's Columbia Board of Education meeting say they hope their silent demonstration will send a message to CPS leaders to delay the start of school.

The protest is being organized through a Facebook event called "Not Until It's Safe."

The CPS board is having a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss reopening school buildings. Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said Monday that CPS is considering pushing back the start of classes until after Labor Day.

Watch the meeting live in the player below.

Jessie Starbuck, a six-year CPS art teacher, and Shawn Beatty organized the protest, which will precede the board meeting.

"Our mission is to stand peacefully and silently. Signs are encouraged, however," Starbuck said. "We aim to show the board, the superintendent, and the community that we feel it is too soon for in-seat schooling."

According to the Facebook page, more than 100 people plan to attend the protest.

"For those who want to participate in person, I will give specific guidelines for protesting safely in-person" Starbuck wrote on the Facebook event page. "I think it's imperative that we model strict mask-wearing and social distancing."

The group believes the in-seat schooling option should only open when there is less than 5% community transmission of COVID-19 and if there are no new cases of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days.

ABC 17 News reported Monday that no decisions will be made at the board meeting, but school officials and board members will discuss potential options while monitoring the virus.

The district's academic calendar currently shows Aug. 25 as the first day of classes.

Check back here or watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6 for more on this developing story.

Columbia / Coronavirus / Education / Health / News / Top Stories

Zola Crowder



  1. “Not Until It’s Safe.”
    It’s safe now. Just as safe as it has ever been. Children are not generally affected by the virus to a significant degree. Expressing either very mild symptoms, or none at all. There is not a single case of a child transmitting the virus to a teacher in the entire world. Please explain why an otherwise reasonably sane person suspects everyone around them of being sick. Asymptomatic transmission was debunked long ago. Therefore, if one displays no symptoms, they are perfectly safe to be around. Of course there are those who thrive on drama, and will use any and all means necessary to keep drama thriving. Whether there is truth involved in it or not.

Leave a Reply