Oak Park and River Forest HS could resume extracurricular activities as soon as Tuesday

ByJohn Garcia and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Monday, December 6, 2021
Oak Park and River Forest HS could resume extracurricular activities as soon as Tuesday
Oak Park and River Forest High School could resume after school activities Tuesday after previously canceling them due to rising COVID cases.

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Oak Park and River Forest High School officials could decide to allow all club, athletics and extra-curricular activities to resume as soon as Tuesday.

The school has made the decision to cancel after-school activities through winter break because of rising COVID cases. That means no sports or clubs, a decision which drew protests over the weekend.

"It's very upsetting to hear once winter sports have started, they're cancelled," said OPRF sophomore Amelia Dalton. "It just seems very unfair."

School officials are expected to make a decision Monday night.

The district, in conjunction with the Oak Park Health Department, notified parents by email of the decision to pause activities through the winter break after they learned of 17 new cases of COVID-19 last week.

That's despite 81% of students and 90% of teachers being fully vaccinated.

Over the weekend students and parents demonstrated against the district's decision to pause activities.

RELATED: Families protest as west suburban school cancels all activities amid uptick in COVID cases

"I think it's unnecessary right now," said Marqui White, whose daughter runs track at the school. "Currently, our kids are going through enough during the pandemic."

"It doesn't make any sense. It was hasty. Not thought through," said OPRF parent Dionne Plywacz. "If Oak Park keeps acting so scared, you're going to have parents that aren't gonna want to send their kids here."

Some parents and students however said they support shutting down activities for now.

"Put it in the grand scheme of things, it's sports. They could just take a step back, get the vaccine. Do what you're supposed to do," said fellow parent.

"I would rather have the kids safe," said Martha Hill, mother of a senior at OPRF in theater. "I understand a lot of parents are not happy about this but safety is the priority."

After getting feedback all weekend, district officials now said they are re-examining the situation and may reverse course and allow activities.

"I think it would be a great opportunity if they could open it back up in a safe way," said sophomore Tessa Christman.

The school sent out a letter Sunday night explaining some new protocols, such as consistent saliva testing for students during PE. The school is also offering more masking options for students.

"At this point, we'll do what we have to do to get our sports back," said Matthias Maser, a senior on the swim team. "It's just the way to kind of get out of everything else I guess, do something other than sit at home."

The school said for each of the 17 reported cases, there about 50 to 70 close contacts.

The school told families it will make a decision by 7 p.m. and let them know if these sports and activities can resume.