Parents and students of Illinois School District #109, 112 and 113 hosted a car rally Saturday morning to support in-person learning.
Residents in Deerfield and Highland Park participated in the rally demanding school districts create plans to increase the amount of in-person instruction students receive.
Cars were asked to meet at Highland Park High School at 10 a.m. and move as a caravan along a guided route ending at Deerfield High School.
“Parents are fed up with the lack of progress by our local school boards and administrators in getting our students back in school for in-person schooling,” James D’Angelo, founder of Deerfield for In-Person Schooling, said. “We are uniting together in a safe and socially-distanced manner to show our leaders that inaction will no longer be tolerated. Our students need progress now.”
Parents in the districts said remote learning is negatively impacting students, citing that there is "mounting evidence" that schools can safely resume in-person instruction.
The Lake County Health Department recommended last month that schools transition to remote learning in light of a "substantial" transmission of coronavirus cases in the community.
Health officials said the recommended virtual learning for both private and public schools should protect students, staff and their families from the virus.
“We have been seeing ‘substantial’ community transmission of COVID-19 in Lake County for seven consecutive days, with rates of new cases that we haven’t seen since the spring,” Mark Pfister, executive director at the Lake County Health Department, said. “We continue to work closely with our school superintendents to equip them with data and tools to make informed decisions."
Pfister said the decision is now up to individual school districts to use expertise in making the "difficult decision for the health and safety of their school communities and the greater Lake County community as a whole."
On Oct. 11, the seven-day rolling average new case rate in Lake County was above 14 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to a release. Over the past week, the rate has risen to over 20 cases per 100,000 residents.
According to the Northern Illinois Return to Schools Metrics plan, which Lake County uses, over 14 new cases per day per 100,000 residents is considered "substantial" community transmission of the coronavirus.
The health officials' remote learning recommendation says schools can return to hybrid learning once Lake County returns to a "moderate" level, or seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, for seven consecutive day, a release said.