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As Schools Roll Out Reopening Plans, Parents Weigh Their Options

Spencer Tritt
DeKalb High School

School districts across Illinois are starting to release reopening plans for this fall.

Many parents are uncomfortable with their kids going back to school during the pandemic. They worry if social distancing is possible and if younger students will struggle to wear a mask all day. But not all.

Of the seven people in Renee Olson’s house, nearly all of them have had COVID-19. After quarantining inside for weeks, she still has a cough but said she feels about 95% back to normal.

She has two kids in the DeKalb school district, an incoming freshman and a senior. One tested positive, while her son, the freshman, is the only one in their family who didn’t show symptoms.

“I think it actually has made them less afraid,” said Olson. “So I'm trying to be like, ‘But you do realize that like, I literally didn't get up off the couch for a whole week!’”

Despite her family’s experience with the pandemic, she feels OK sending them back to school in a partially in-person, “blended” format.

That’s mostly because she believes public health guidelines will be more easily adhered to at that grade level.

“I'm pretty sure that if any student is not wearing their mask properly, they're going to be sent home. I really think there's going to be compliance at DeKalb High School,” she said.

Olson is a licensed 6-12th grade math teacher who has also done some homeschooling with her kids.

She asks parents who decide to have their kids learn from home understand the time commitment homeschooling takes.

And, Olson says, some families are homeschooling not just for their kids’ health, but for the health of their teachers too.

She says e-learning was a struggle for her kids in the spring and hopes digital instruction can be better utilized now.

The DeKalb School Board will release a revised version of their reopening plan on July 21.