back-to-school

Whether it’s the global pandemic or social unrest, nearly everyone has experienced some trauma in 2020.

It’s hard to grasp the long-term mental health implications of COVID-19. But many Americans have already seen their mental health suffer during the pandemic.

Spencer Tritt

Only weeks from the first day of school, some districts are reversing course and choosing not to have any in-person instruction right away.

Several teachers’ unions are calling on their schools to start the year virtually. Educators in Elmhurst are opposing their district’s back-to-school plan.

Max Schoenberg is the president of the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council. He says Elmhurst District 205’s plan would bring hundreds of students back into its buildings.

Spencer Tritt

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.

Photo by Peter Medlin

In light of the conversations around safety, schools have recently changed many protocols and programs. They've replaced and upgraded equipment and hired armed resource officers.

But safety is not only about the physical vulnerability of the building. It's increasingly about mental health and helping students forge positive relationships with adults in their schools and communities.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Tomorrow is Move-In Day at NIU. 4,000 students are expected to move into their dorms throughout the day.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The annual ritual of Move-In Day took control of Northern Illinois University's campus today. An estimated 2,500 students will spend the evening unpacking and getting to know their new neighbors. It took 1,000 student volunteers, 100 staff and faculty members, and of course, hundreds of moms, dads, and friends to get their stuff from the curb to the dorm room. Eventually, 5,000 students will make their way into the residence halls.