More than 1,200 students in Oakland, California are refusing to go back to school unless better Covid-19 precautions are taken such as weekly testing, better social distancing, and more masks being given to students. 

Three different schools are closed because teachers and students are staying home as the Omicron variant continues to surge across the U.S. The district says it has provided more tests but students and teachers say they have been mostly allocated towards wealthier areas. 

“I think the number one emotion I feel is just frustrated,” Favour Akingbemi, 17, a senior at Washington Preparatory high school in South LA, told the Guardian.

“Teaching is already a stressful job. Doing so when I’m fearing for my life and for students’ lives and the lives of their families is just on a different level,” said Joanne Yi, a teacher at Augustus Hawkins in South Los Angeles.

The demands of the students and teachers come as the Biden administration ordered 500 million Covid tests which will be available for free through the mail and are scheduled to ship out in late January as the president remains determined to keep schools open during one of the worst phases of the pandemic. Oakland is not the only city dealing with school walkouts as 600 students in New York City walked out of school over the “unsafe and chaotic environment” at their school. 

According to the CDC, the current seven-day moving average of coronavirus cases is at 782,775 marking an increase of 33.2% from the previous average as Omicron makes up 98.3% of the total cases in the U.S. Hospitalizations have also seen a sharp increase jumping 24.5% to a 20,637 seven-day moving average, with deaths also increasing 36.8% to a seven-day average of 1,729.