DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD) — Five days before the start of the school year for Dunlap students and parents say they are still left with unanswered questions.
Two weeks ago, Dunlap School Board made a decision to resume full days of in-person instruction. That decision received pushback. Dunlap students created a petition and managed to get thousands of signatures telling the school board to reconsider.
Some students spoke Wednesday at the school board meeting urging the administration not to move forward with a plan that is logistically complex and experimental.
“Trust me we all want to go back to normal I understand that more than anyone. I’m a senior. This is my senior year. All of my senior traditions are being held up over a cliff,” one Dunlap student said. “The point is we’re not ready for it right now [at] this moment. So my question is what makes anyone think that we’re suddenly going to be ready for it on August 17th?”
Dr. Scott Dearman, Dunlap School Board Superintendent listened to feedback from students, parents and teachers. He said there will always be a difference in opinion, but the board is moving forward with their decision. However, he thanks everyone for sharing their thoughts.
“I am certainly proud of our students I think they spoke very well and they presented themselves well and they were very respectful. They’re entitled to their opinion,” Dearman said.
Parents said they are worried about teachers morale, adding if the school board does not protect the teachers who is going to look after the children.
Also tonight, teachers complained about class sizes. One teacher said she has 30 kids and in order to properly social distance she has to use 15 tables seating only two students at a time. The teachers said they are worried for their own health as well as the students’ health.
Dearman admits he too is worried about going into the school year with so many unknowns, but he is confident that school staff will take the greatest measures to ensure the safety of students.
If the school is forced to close down in relation to the pandemic he said the have a robust backup plan. If we go back to phase one or two of the Restore Illinois plan all students will transition to remote learning. If we go back to phase three special education students would be prioritized to receive in-person instruction. All other students will engage remotely.