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We asked parents and teachers if they’re OK with in-class instruction returning. Here’s what they said.

Some say students shouldn’t return until there’s a vaccine. Others say e-learning wasn’t working for their kids, and it’s time to go back.

With schools gearing up to welcome back students in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, here’s what parents and teachers had to say about whether they’d be comfortable with in-class instruction this fall.
With schools gearing up to welcome back students in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, here’s what parents and teachers had to say about whether they’d be comfortable with in-class instruction this fall.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

With schools gearing up to welcome back students in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, we asked: Parents, would you feel comfortable sending your kids back to school in the fall? Teachers, do you feel safe going back to the classroom? Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“I have mixed feelings. My son will be going into kindergarten, and I want his first school experience to be a positive one, but there are so many uncertainties right now that I am really unsure of how positive the experience will be, or safe.” — Kelly Weible

“If they were able to do video chats with their teachers and classmates, why can’t they just do the same for regular class time? They log in, and the teacher teaches as if they were in class. They don’t need to be sitting in the classroom, and the e-learning program of just having work to do on their own isn’t enough.” — Gabi Vazquez Hernandez

“I love teaching. I love my students and miss them so much. If it’s safe (we have everything we need/decrease in COVID cases) to go back and we base going back off of science and not politics, I am OK with returning. My son will be entering first grade, and he loves wearing his mask, so I’m OK with sending him as well if it is again safe to do so.” — Jen de los Reyes

“My son has chronic asthma and is still young enough where he will not keep his mask on for one hour straight, let alone eight. If he were older and more capable of keeping it on all day, I would consider it if safety precautions were put in place.” — EV Garcia

“My daughter just graduated high school, and, as of now, UIS is planning in-person classes. If she were still in high school, I would keep her home and have her do remote learning. Schools should offer the option of remote learning.” — Greta Berna

“Every year, without fail, both my kids are sick within the first three weeks of school. So, no, I will either do e-learning or homeschooling. I can’t trust humans to care enough.” — Neven Budimir

“As a teacher, I’m not particularly comfortable back in classrooms without mandated PPE for all students and staff.” — Kyle Schneider

“No, especially since everyone stopped talking about the children’s mystery illness linked to COVID. I’m appalled that pediatricians are very well aware of this disease and still recommended opening schools. I guess they’re going to wait until hundreds of children get infected.” — Brend Isima

“I do not. I have an almost 6-year-old going into first grade, and I work in a high school. I’m nervous about what the new school year could bring home from both of us. There should not be in-person class until the vaccine. We can make up the learning gaps, but we cannot make up those who may die or get permanently hurt from this virus.” — Kayla Ford

“Nope. They can use someone other than my child as a guinea pig.” — Laura Mulry

“I plan to wait until next month to see if cases and deaths are still low in Illinois. If I had to answer the question now and school was starting tomorrow, then my answer would be no.” — Matthew McGinley

“All it takes is one student or staff member to infect everyone and shut everything down again. I’d continue the remote learning from home and distribution of food at the schools at least for one school year or until there’s a cure.” — Santos Aranda

“If my job allows me to work from home, no way am I sending my son.” — Amy Jo

“I’m OK sending my kids, but I think they need to have a hybrid plan for kids and teachers who are concerned about going back.” — Joey Lynn Battaglia-Pinaglia

“My children want to go back, I want to go back to work as well. My daughter will be a freshman this year and has been vocal on how much she hated remote learning. My son also had a rough time during remote learning. I feel OK with them being back at school.” — Darlene Herrera

“As a teacher and a parent, I am very worried about returning to school. My daughter’s high school has 3,600 students, and I have 34 fourth-graders in my class. How do we social distance? Enforce masks? Teach in-person and online at the same time?” — Carolyne Obrien

“As an instructor, I definitely don’t feel safe returning to the classroom. The students wearing masks, sanitizing the room every minute, and I don’t even want to speak on social distancing.” — Brigitte Saffold