Orland Park rallies to demand return of fall sports, in-person learning

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Orland Park is the latest suburb to hold a rally demanding the return of fall sports and in-person classes, despite the governor's insistence it's not safe.

There have been rallies like that all over the area over the past couple weeks and rumors have been flying that the state could be making a change to its sports policies.

"No homecoming, no prom, no Friday night lights," student Luke DeVito said to the booing crowd.

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students and parents gathered on the steps of Hinsdale Central High School Thursday to call on the district to reinstitute in-person learning.

Many of the families who gathered in Orland Park are part of the district that includes Sandburg, Andrew and Stagg high schools, where some in-person learning will resume later this month.

The plan calls for the schools to be at 25 percent capacity, with students learning on-site one day a week and remotely the other four days. Students can opt in to be fully remote.

"That's not enough. How are they going to do this, you know, acclimating to one day?" said Emily Moser, Andrew High School parent.

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The families got high profile support from Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald.

"I firmly believe our high school student athletes, the young men and young women, should have the opportunity to play if we can execute it in a healthy and safe manner," he said.

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Though the state's public health director says she's working with the Illinois High School Association on how competitive sports may resume safely, IHSA responded to rumors, saying it's "not aware of any IDPH changes, or anticipated changes, to the risk categorization of any sports."

"You know, I just don't think that this is something that we should allow right now because it's dangerous," Governor JB Pritzker said Wednesday.

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"I don't know if he ever played a meaningful sporting event in his life, but I will say this: he doesn't seem to understand how important sports are to kids," said Dave Ruggles, speaker at the Orland Park rally.

More rallies are planned for later this week, including two on Saturday, one at the Thompson Center and the other in Springfield.
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