There is no questioning of sincerity, but there is second-guessing underway in River Forest as a fully split District 90 public school board voted 4-3 last week to reopen its elementary schools full time to in-person learning this fall. Roosevelt Middle School will operate in a hybrid model.
Decisions, of course, have to be made, plans need to be executed. Running elementary and middle schools in the midst of a savage pandemic is both new and uncertain ground. Across America, in circumstances that are so uncertain, and so quickly changing, local school boards are, with our thanks, making these ground-level decisions. Far better that seven locally elected volunteers make this choice than Donald Trump, blustering from D.C. with his nakedly political motives.
That said, we find it hard to comprehend that this school board narrowly chose to reopen K-5 schools in the weeks just ahead. Yes, they can still pivot, and we predict they will pivot to remote learning as so many other local districts have.
Teachers are largely united in opposition to in-person classes. Parents are inevitably divided based on so many different factors, ranging from work situations to the varied make-ups of households with elders or others who are also vulnerable.
Heaven knows no one, not one single person, has chosen this dismal situation, which a failed federal government has put us in with its pandemic abandonment and avoidance.
Ultimately this is about health. The health of our children. There are real drawbacks to remote learning. None of them involve illness or death.
Time to reconsider this supremely hard decision.