Updated: October 12, 2020 07:30 PM
Created: October 12, 2020 06:45 PM
CARLSBAD, N.M. — Students, athletes, parents and teachers rallied together for a peaceful protest in Carlsbad on Monday, urging Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to ease restrictions on the state's public health order.
"We're not here to protest anything about the mask mandate," said Carlsbad High School coach and parent, Richard Carrasco. "We're not here for any other agenda. We're here for our youth, and they are our future."
'We can't keep our youth bottled up inside the rest of their life. They got to get back to having some kind of normality," Carrasco said. "Their mental health is at stake, and by not having their extra-curricular activities, or even school is affecting them. Many of the students across the state are failing right now and part of it is the learning. They cannot learn online what they do in the classroom, the one-on-one is not there."
Brynlee Daughtry, a student-athlete with Carlsbad High School, said the shutdown has taken a toll.
"Not going to school is definitely hurting," she said. "I'm a straight A student usually and being able to learn online is really hard-- not having face-to-face and being able to ask help from the teachers. It's even hard to get a hold of your teachers through Google. I mean, of course, you have their numbers and stuff, but it's just not the same."
As a result, Daughtry said she wants their voices to be heard.
"Our main goal of this protest, of course, is to get back into school and to go back to our normal lives," she said. "It was stripped from us definitely, and of course there are definite reasons and it's safe to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart, but we just miss our old lives and being able to go back to school and playing sports safely—even by following the rules is our main purpose."
For now, Carlsbad schools remain virtual until COVID numbers improve, per the state's public health orders.
Despite the increase in positive cases, students and staff hope the state can reconsider.
"I want the governor's office to actually meet with the NMPED—actually meet with NMAA and come up with a solution and a plan to get our students, student-athletes—everybody back into school," Carrasco said. "There has to be a way."
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