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Some school districts opening classrooms for in-person learning

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020  |  Article  |  By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

Education--Elementary and Secondary (36) , Health (49)

(The Center Square) – Some school districts in Illinois that began the year with only remote learning are slowly opening classrooms for in-person learning.

Unit 5 in Normal will begin classes on Oct. 19. School officials have alerted parents that students and their siblings will be sent home if they show just one symptom, such as a fever, cough or sore throat. Those children will have to stay home until they produce a negative test or a doctor confirms they are COVID-19 free.

Bloomington District 87 schools will allow kindergartners through second-graders later this month, and third through sixth graders in November for two days a week.

Barry Reilly, superintendent of schools, said he has heard of mixed results from districts that have opened.

“For those that are larger districts, for some it has gone OK, others it has been very challenging just in terms of number of cases and/or the number of self quarantines,” said Reilly.

Illinois public health officials say they have verified COVID-19 outbreaks in at least 44 school buildings throughout the state, but won’t say where they are located.

For some parents and students, the return to the classroom is overdue. Rallies in Wheaton, Orland Park and Crystal Lake called on school officials to reopen schools for in-person learning.

At a recent virtual board meeting, several parents in the Park Ridge-Niles District 64 school district called for an end to remote learning and called for the district to return students to class full-time. Some spoke of the negative impact they say remote learning has had on the social and emotional health of their children.

District 64’s hybrid plan, which began this week, places students in school two days a week, with remote learning during the other three days.