More suburban parents fighting for return to in-person learning

Parents and students in Community Unit School District 300 rallied Tuesday and made clear they do not feel the option of remote learning should go away completely. They say some need it, but they are tired of the one-size-fits-all approach and want the choice for students to learn in-person.

“If we can go to Walmart and purchase our groceries with our masks on and remain safe, then I think our kids can go back to school as well,” said Brandy Kittinger.

Kittinger’s son is a third grader in District 300. She says he needs supports she cannot give him at home.

“I know the school is trying the best that they can, but for him, in-school learning is the best option for us,” Kittinger said.

Right now, more than 19,000 students in the district -- the overwhelming majority -- are doing full-remote learning.

“We want to promote in-person learning, but of all things we want to promote choice,” said Jacobs High School sophomore Brett Corrigan.

Corrigan helped organize Tuesday’s rally. He says he suffers a bit with remote learning because he is a hands-on learner. He also feels some teachers are overwhelmed.

“It just seems like the learning itself isn’t at its best when we’re on Zoom,” Corrigan said.

Some parents agree.

“There’s a lot of isolation going on and depression,” said Julie Dahlen.

“A lot of parents in our community, they would like to see their kids back in school, and there's quite a few that want to protect their kids because of the COVID,” said Village of Algonquin Trustee Jerry Glogowski.

Steve Fiorentino, the vice president of the District 300 Board of Education, feels the district should move forward with some type of in-person learning.

“We can be teaching young people in a safe way,” he said.

The district’s Board of Education was expected to vote Tuesday night on the instructional plan for the second quarter, which starts October 13. It could include a hybrid option.