Suburban parents push for return to classroom: 'Our kids are just dying on the vine'

Parents and students in Crystal Lake say enough is enough. They are pushing for a return to the classroom and the playing fields.

On Tuesday, more than 100 people lined the front of prairie Ridge High School calling for change. Many came with signs and without masks, but they all had a clear message.

Students in District 155 are doing full remote learning, but some parents say it is not up to par.

“Our kids are just dying on the vine. They’re not being educated well, the teachers are killing themselves and they’re barely even moving the needle,” said parent Christine Gale.

Kelly and Martin Bartesch have a son at Crystal Lake Central High School. They want the choice to send him back to the classroom and say the lack of socialization impacts students’ mental health.

“We know a lot of kids, talking to parents, where it’s been, some don’t even get out of bed. Anxiety, stress, depression, it’s all there,” Kelly and Martin said.

“They are so isolated and they’re terrified of everything and everybody,” Gale said.

Student athletes in their senior year worry about how remote learning could impact their college careers.

“It’s a big deal because a lot of student athletes are trying to get colleges to go to play at athletically and that interferes with recruiting and everything,” said Crystal Lake senior Connor Bartesch.

Meanwhile, the school superintendent for District 155 says he understands the desire to have kids back in school.

“But we do have to kinda look at the metrics that are being pushed out, by, as I said, the county health department, the Illinois department of health, as well as the governor’s office and make sure we’re kinda abiding by those things,” said Steve Olson.

The district will hold a special board meeting on September 29 to vote on whether to switch to hybrid learning. If they decide on hybrid learning, it could start on October 13.