Reflecting a divided community, the school board in Arlington Heights’ District 25 voted against moving students to full-time remote learning, meaning that many will remain in school on a hybrid model.
The news comes after Dr. Lori Bein, superintendent of schools, recommended that students temporarily move to full-time remote learning amid a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Illinois.
The decision to continue hybrid learning came on a razor-thin 4-to-3 vote, but not all parents are on board with the decision.
“The problem that we’re having is that it’s just not safe for the teachers, for the staff, or for anybody in the building to be teaching in this matter,” Toni Stuller, a parent, said.
Stuller believes that the school district should follow more strict metrics when it comes to making decisions on in-person learning.
“The issue with the remote option is that it protects my son if I keep him at home,” she said. “It doesn’t protect the teachers, it doesn’t protect the staff and it doesn’t protect the community from asymptomatic spread.”
Not all parents agree, saying that they feel that keeping kids in school on a hybrid-model basis is the right decision at this time.
“I honestly feel that if we keep hybrid in motion until we go back to full-time in-person learning, that people will see it in action and see that it’s actually a safe thing to do,” parent Renee Schlendhardt says. “The positive impact that it’s having on the students will weigh on everyone’s minds as well.”
Officials from District 25 declined to speak on camera to NBC 5, but the board’s president says that the school board “voted from a place of having the best interest of the students, staff and community in mind.”
What’s still uncertain is whether the district will move to full in-person learning in January. In November, the board voted to resume in-person learning on Jan. 19 if the positivity rate in Region 10, Illinois’ healthcare region that encompasses suburban Cook County, drops to 8%. The district could also resume full-time in-person learning if there are fewer than 70 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents by that date.