Some elementary school parents in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 are demanding that the district reopen in-person school as soon as possible. District 65 has been on remote learning since school opened in August, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ironically, the comments were submitted in writing to the Board of Education rather than delivered in person by the five parents, because the Board met virtually Monday night due to the virus. The meeting was live streamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

Dr. Bridget Wild, a pediatrician, was one of the parents urging a re-opening. “Schools are an indispensable part of our children’s lives,” she said in her email. Wild said she has “spent more hours soothing tears of frustration” over computer formatting for her child than she has spent helping with e-learning course materials.

Other parents wondered why some districts have already reopened, at least with a hybrid model, and suggested there have been no mass outbreaks due to in-person school. However, several nearby districts have returned to remote learning after reopening, at least for awhile, due to COVID-19.

Superintendent Devon Horton has set Jan. 19 as a reopening date for District 65, assuming coronavirus metrics allow.

While all the parents whose comments were read to the Board had the same opinion, the district’s parents are divided on whether to send their children back to school if the buildings are opened. A survey earlier this fall showed about a 50-50 split on going back to school versus staying on e-learning.

If District 65 does reopen for in-person school, remote learning will still be available for parents who prefer that option for their children.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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