ORLAND PARK, Ill. - Parents in suburban Chicago are clamoring to get students back to class and off Zoom.
On Thursday, two more suburbs held reopen rallies, joining the growing calls we've seen from places like Plainfield, Wheaton and Crystal Lake.
In Orland Park, parents and students from schools throughout the south and southwest suburbs joined together to continue the call to get kids back into the classroom, calling e-learning a disaster.
Orland Park rally organizer Diane DeVito says teachers are doing the best they can, but remote learning is not working. She says it is taking a toll on students' mental health, hurting working parents and wants the choice to send her son back to the classroom.
“We need our school districts to get a solid plan back together to get our kids back to school,” she said.
Thomas Laquinta had three kids in public school, but moved two to private so they could have full-time in-person learning.
“I’m not gonna live in a tyrannical state, that tells me what to do, tells my kids what to do, and tells them they can’t play sports or can’t have a social life,” Laquinta said.
“During the day, I’ve started to get a lot more headaches... [and have had] trouble staying focused,” a young girl said.
“I’ll wear a mask. I’ll wash my hands. I just want to go to school,” a young boy said.
At Hoffman Estates High School, there are also more calls for school over screens.
Because of remote learning, licensed clinical social worker Adam Russo says he is seeing 30 percent more people compared to this time last year.
“At some point, we have to start allowing people to get back into some normal flow, protect the vulnerable and let, especially the kids, we should be thankful that it did not do what we thought it could to kids,” he said.
Also in attendance at Thursday’s rally was the Orland Park mayor. He says it is important kids get back to the classroom and sports, because both are important to their development.
He says parents should make the choice, not the government.