Parents at New Trier High School rally to get kids back into the classroom amid pandemic

WILMETTE, Ill. — Parents rallied outside of New Trier High School to get kids back into the classroom as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to rise.

This past week, New Trier’s Board of Education resumed in-class learning,  but at 25% levels.

“Our kids need to be in the classroom every day,” one parent said. “Our teachers need to be in the classroom every day.”

The president of the New Trier Education Association disagrees.

“To be clear, the impediment to safe in-person instruction is COVID-19 and not our faculty,” Jen McDonough, New Trier Education Association president, said.

New Trier parents point to nearby districts that have ramped up in-person education.

Glenbrook District 225, Lake Forest District 115, Loyola Academy, District 211 in Palatine, and Maine District 207 all have in-person levels set at 50%. Districts 214 and 128 are at lower levels.

For some New Trier students, they say going back to class is essential to them.

“It’s just been very hard to be at home all the time and seeing my senior year go by through a screen and it’s harder to be online. I don’t get to see my friends. I don’t get to see my teachers,” Ava Vazzo, a senior, said.

New Trier parents at the rally, including those who work at hopsitals say, on the whole, it’s not a bad option.

“The rates of transmission from worker to worker is extremely low and I wouldn’t expect anything different from our schools and the data support that,” Dr. Eric Hungness said.

Back at the Board of Education, the teachers union says they get it, but more time is needed.

“We all want is safe and best for our community, a safe and effective education/ stability in a time or turbulence and a sense of normalcy during a pandemic,” McDonough said.

On Saturday, the state of Illinois reported over 11,000 new cases of COVID-19. On Friday, the state reported over 15,000.