WHEATON, Ill. - Desperate times call for desperate measures, and a suburban family is doing just that.
They are leaving Wheaton behind and moving to Indiana, so their kids can go to school in-person and play sports.
“It's been something, it's been cooking for a while. We did a lot of research on it,” said Dave Ruggles.
With high school winter sports up in the air and with in-person learning not an option, Ruggles has made the decision to relocate.
“Indiana starts with the premise that you need to have kids in school and playing sports, and Illinois has the approach of we're going to cut and run at the first sign of trouble,” he said.
Ruggles's son, Brady, is a standout basketball player, but he says the decision to move goes beyond just sports.
“He's missing out on the socializing, the mentoring from teachers, from coaches and that kind of thing,” Ruggles said. “So from my vantage point, from our vantage point, the academic side is probably more important than the basketball side.”
Ruggles has been very active in the movement to green-light winter sports in Illinois, but he says those efforts have been met with just finger pointing.
“The schools point the blame at the IDPH, the IDPH points the blame at Pritzker, Pritzker says the school can make the decision on their own and the reality is, there's nobody that's taking responsibility for this,” the father said.
Meanwhile, he says kids stuck at home are among those sacrificing the most to get through the pandemic.
“Don't make the kids carry the burden of this thing. We'll protect ourselves, we'll stay out of harm's way, let the kids live their lives,” Ruggles said.
Asked about the possibility of moving to Indiana and then having Indiana shut down winter sports, Ruggles says that with no changes happening in Illinois, that is a risk he is willing to take.