mental health

Some Suburban Parents Question Remote Learning as More Students Return to Classroom

“What metrics do we need to see that we can bring our kids back safely? I think the kids and the parents want a little bit of hope,” a Chicago-area pediatrician and parent said.

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Some parents of Evanston Township High School students are questioning why their teens will continue to learn remotely five days a week when other Chicago-area high schoolers are heading back to the classroom on hybrid learning models.

“The parents want to know what can we expect moving forward,” said Dr. Valerie Kimball, a pediatrician and parent of an Evanston Township High School student.

Kimball told NBC 5 that her office, which is near the high school, is seeing more mental health visits than regular sick visits.

“Twelve months into this, they are not equipped emotionally to continue with this isolation. Their development depends on interaction,” Kimball said.

According to the school district’s website, the plan is to move to hybrid learning in the fourth quarter if conditions permit.

But the group Reopen Evanston Schools said the district has not updated the community on how it will make decisions about reopening.

“What metrics do we need to see that we can bring our kids back safely? I think the kids and the parents want a little bit of hope,” Kimball said.

Meanwhile, some parents in west suburban Geneva said District 304 is moving “backwards” after it recently replaced Friday in-person lessons with remote learning.

“It’s a lack of curriculum that directly affects post high school plans for our kids and their ability to compete with other students,” said Michelle Irwin, a parent of a high school freshman and senior.

The district said it has provided hybrid in-person learning since the first day of the 2020-21 school year.

“Currently, the Hybrid In-Person model follows an A/B schedule Monday through Thursday, with a day of synchronous, whole-class remote learning on Fridays,” said Superintendent Dr. Kent Mutchler. “Geneva 304 is committed to delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students while remaining focused on health & safety guidelines, and we continue to work on a daily basis to plan for ways to maximize in-person learning for our students.”

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