Do you believe that Central School parents and students should have the option of full-time in-school learning? If your answer is yes, then join OpenCentralSchool.
OpenCentralSchool is made up of concerned Central School parents and community members who want safe, full-time in-person learning for students as an option.
We believe full-time in-school learning is vital for the academic, social and emotional development of our children. After nine months of no full-time in-person learning, our children desperately need this option to get back into the classrooms full-time. The lack of rigor, excessive "independent learning", family tech support, and inappropriate displacement of teaching responsibilities onto parents has become a breach of good faith in our community. The District update (10/25/20) highlights the failure of hybrid learning at Central School.
Our School Board and Superintendent’s job is to open school to the maximum allowed by the law, currently Restore Illinois Phase 4 with IDPH’s School Guidance and Adaptive Pause and Metrics: Interim School Guidance for Local Health Departments (last update 8/17/20). Of note, these recommendations are “considerations for reopening schools” and “to support school officials in making decisions” to allow for flexibility within a local school district. As the Cook County Department of Public Health guidance states: "Metrics are only part of the picture. ISBE’s Adaptive Pause guidance states that strategies should aim to balance educational needs and the reduction of COVID-19 transmission". The Governor's guideline changes announced 10/27/20 limiting gatherings to 25 people in Cook County do not apply to schools or polling places (Central School is also a polling place), reflecting the increased flexibility and specificity needed for school aged children. Also, updated IDPH's school guidance (11/04/20) now recognizes rapid testing alone and relaxed quarantine rules as adequate to return to school, reducing unnecessary time away from in-person school while waiting for a test result. IDPH is adapting to the growing evidence that children are at low risk for serious illness from COVID, are not superspreaders, and should be in school when possible. Furthermore, the Illinois High School Association recognizes the need to support competitive high school sports, like basketball this winter, based on student athlete and staff compliance with safety measures thus far and a lack of data from neighboring states to show these sports have caused an increased incidence of cases. Instead of following theories about risk that seemed to make sense before robust data was available, IHSA is following the science and putting our children's mental and physical health first.
Full-time in-person learning is an option currently allowed by Illinois law and should be a family's personal decision. Central School receives $22,593 per student from our tax dollars (6.98% increase from 2019 while student enrollment dropped 2.35%) and Glencoe District 35 financial capacity is 176.90% above the suggested funding to meet district needs. So, Central School has the resources to safely provide full-time in-person learning as an option while following the Phase 4 Rules and ISBE Guidance. Choosing which option is best for your family should be a personal decision made by you, the parent(s) or guardian(s), not limited or vetted by the decision of our School Board and Superintendent Wang.
Children are at very low risk for life-threatening illness from COVID-19 as the CDC data show the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) from COVID-19 for those under 20 is just 0.003% (or a 99.997% probability of survival after infection). For ages 20 and 50 the IFR is 0.02% (or a 99.98% probability of survival). Our school community has been blessed with very few student or staff infections. As we adapt to living with COVID-19 while herd immunity, treatments, and vaccines are realized over the next 1-2 years, we must balance the educational and emotional needs of our children forced into damaging school shutdowns. As the data in Cook County grows, our children are disproportionately suffering under a blanket shutdown when they remain at very low risk of death while our elderly continue to suffer. Let's practice "focused protection" of our most vulnerable community members while providing full time in-person learning for those who choose this option.
Schools across the state – public, private and parochial – have reopened safely and successfully, including some schools around Central School. The best example is the Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth. The school has in-person learning five days a week, supported by a well-orchestrated safety plan. Importantly, it operates two simultaneous tracks to ensure every family, student, and teacher has a choice. The result: 90 percent of families have chosen in-person learning, while 10 percent are online only. Full-time in-person school can be done safely, and our Glencoe kids deserve that option. Operating an organization during COVID is complex but it is getting easier now that we know who is at high risk. Those in school leadership positions must adapt to the growing evidence that children are low risk while the damage from no full-time in-person learning is high. We ask the Central School Board and Superintendent Wang to follow the science and use our hard earned tax dollars to open full-time in-person learning as an option at Central School.
Join the growing list of parents advocating for a full-time in-person learning option!
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