Parents Need to Chill Out at Board Meetings

Students+at+the+high+school+flood+the+halls+during+passing+period+earlier+in+the+school+year+in+August+2020.+All+of+district+7+is+now+in+full-remote+at-home+learning+due+to+COVID-19+concerns.+

photo by Mason Kane

Students at the high school flood the halls during passing period earlier in the school year in August 2020. All of district 7 is now in full-remote at-home learning due to COVID-19 concerns.

Tyler Chrenka, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has affected almost every single person in the world. Millions have lost jobs, millions have lost loved ones and millions have died. 

But out of all of these people who have suffered through such terribly awful things, those whose children are no longer attending school five days a week are the loudest with their complaints. 

It is a fact that some parents are having to make significant adjustments, like hiring tutors or staying home from work, to assist their children on remote days.

Though making such adjustments is not favorable, people need to realize that we are in the middle of a deadly pandemic, and District 7 Superintendent Jason Henderson and the school board are going to prioritize safety over convenience.

As I watched the videos of the past few board meetings, specifically the parts where parents spoke about the board’s handling of COVID-19, I realized that a lot of the arguments do not make sense.

At a board meeting on Oct. 13, one parent complained that education is the only industry in the country that remains primarily shutdown. 

While that may be a fair point, it is important to remember that the education industry differs from the other industries in the sense that for it to reopen, thousands of students would have to pack into a building, and as a result, adequate social distancing would not be able to continue.  

This parent also said that because the local parochial schools are open, the middle and high schools should be open as well. 

This argument is not valid because the local parochial schools have a fraction of the number of students as the middle schools and high school. For instance, Father McGivney, one of the largest private schools in Madison County, enrolls slightly more than 200 students compared to Edwardsville High School’s nearly 2,400, according to Niche. 

Two weeks later at the board meeting on Oct. 26, a different parent argued that students should start attending school in person every weekday, and the data they used to support their argument was taken during the times of hybrid instruction. 

They said that COVID-19 cases were low among children in Madison County, so schools should leave the hybrid schedule and reopen fully because of these low numbers. 

The problem with this argument is that these low numbers are likely direct results of hybrid learning. This is because the hybrid schedule allows for social distancing, reduces the amount of people students come in contact with and makes cleaning the schools easier, according to Vox. 

With the data showcasing the positive effects that coincide with the continuation of hybrid learning, how can one expect to get the district to leave the very system that is evidently working? 

The lack of logical reasoning is all too common with the argument to resume normal schooling. Instead of berating the diligent board, parents need to step back and accept this temporary reality.