Parents call for remote learning options at Waukegan public schools amid positive cases, quarantines

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Sunday, September 12, 2021
Waukegan parents seek remote learning option amid school COVID cases
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Some parents want the option for remote learning as COVID cases in schools force some students to quarantine without access to classwork.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Some parents in a northern suburb gathered Sunday to speak out against their children attending classes in person.

Waukegan public schools, a district of 17,000 students and staff, has had 73 cases since classes started a month ago.

Now, these parents are asking for a return to remote learning.

Sebrina Jamison got notice that her granddaughter, a 4th grader at the Glenwood Elementary School in Waukegan, was in close contact with another student with COVID. That means the district wants her to quarantine for ten days at home, without access to remote learning.

"She doesn't have the schooling from the teacher, so she's at home for ten days with a negative test," Jamison said.

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Incidents like that are why a group of parents and community activists are calling on the district to better communicate with parents regarding COVID cases in school.

The district said in a statement, "The notifications are general, and among other things, they detail how many people have tested positive and what dates those persons were in the building when potentially contagious."

However, these parents also want the district to give parents and students the option of remote learning.

"If they don't feel it's safe, they should have the choice to send or not send their child," said school board member, Anita Hanna.

"There should be a choice of hybrid classroom so they can be safe if that's what the families choose to do," added activist Julie Contreras.

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Some parents also said the school has not taken enough safety precautions.

They said students sit too close together in the classroom and they don't offer testing -- although Chicago COVID Control is setting up a free site near the school starting next week.

"Everyone should take the effort of getting tested and make sure their schools are safe," said Ike Khan with Chicago COVID Control.

While some parents said they want remote learning, it's unclear whether the district has the capability to offer it at this point. Jamison said she plans to meet with the superintendent this week.