Dozens of parents and students held a rally Monday night to demand that Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 resume in-person learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sherrie Graham, who said she has three children attending school in the district, helped organize the rally. She argued that families should be able to choose whether or not to have their student physically in class.
“Our students are not doing well learning this way,” Graham said, referring to online classes. “It’s not working.”
Courtney Orlando, who said she has two students in the district, said her children are suffering from anxiety and miss seeing their classmates. Orlando added that she and her family have had to reorganize their schedules to be home with them during the day.
She said she doesn’t understand the public’s fear about the pandemic, though she supports taking “common sense” measures like wearing face coverings and washing hands.
“I just think we can figure something out,” Orlando said.
Graham said she’s seen other districts around the country open with in-person instruction with few problems. Nearby, Joliet Catholic Academy reopened with in-person learning but had to temporarily revert to remote learning after four students contracted COVID-19.
Graham also cited a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics in which the organization argued that children returning to school was vital for many reasons.
Still, in the same statement the AAP released, it said administrators, health experts, educators and parents should “take into account the spread of COVID-19 in their communities and the capacities of school districts to adapt safety protocols to make in-person learning safe and feasible.”
The District 202 board voted to begin the year with entirely remote learning as the number of COVID-19 cases began to rise in Will County. District 202 teachers demanded the board opt for remote learning and argued it was impossible to keep students and staff safe teaching in person.
District 202 officials also recently shared the difficulty of securing and paying for important supplies with U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville.
Tom Hernandez, a District 202 spokesman, said administrators are carefully watching various public health metrics and are gathering feedback from parents about how remote learning has gone for students.
Hernandez said the district will assess the possibility of returning to some in-person instruction near the end of this month or early next month.