coronavirus illinois

Parents, Students Rally to Fully Reopen Suburban Schools

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Despite a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, parents and students in multiple Chicago-area school districts took part in rallies Saturday, calling for schools to fully reopen.

In the morning hours, dozens of people gathered outside New Trier High School's Northfield campus to express concerns about the school district's hybrid learning model.

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the school, which has campuses in Northfield and Winnetka, resumed its hybrid plan with 25% of students receiving in-person instruction.

In a memo to the school community on Saturday, school officials thanked the community for a "successful return" to the hybrid schedule.

However, outside the Northfield campus, some students expressed frustration with online classes, saying they're simply not working.

"I think if someone asked me what I learned in math, I wouldn’t say one thing," said senior Jenna Birdfell. "I have my phone, my teacher is lecturing, my dog is barking. I have my sister and parents' zooms at home, and it’s just impossible to learn without distractions coming your way."

In nearby Deerfield, several parents and students took part in a car caravan, calling for district officials there to resume in-person instruction.

Even with a record-breaking number of coronavirus cases this past week in Illinois, some parents believe schools should make all classes in-person - 100% of the time.

"My two daughters came on Thursday and Friday for the first time in nine months," said parent Shelley Shelly. "And they were so excited to step foot in the school. It is great they had those two days, those next two days are December. So it’s not enough."

The goal of both rallies was to get the attention of the school boards, administrators and teachers' unions.

"This is like, the most fun years of their life and I’m just not getting it, because I’m not allowed to go into school," said Luka Chulmulyer, a junior at New Trier High School.

Even before the second surge of the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said schools were far from returning to full-time in-person learning. He, however, has left the decision up to individual districts.

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