Local communities demand in-person learning

Lemont+High+school+senior+Leah+Iaquinta+expresses+her+grievances+about+missing+out+on+the+opportunities+only+an+in-person+education+can+offer+through+a+five+minute+speech.+Iaquinta+plans+on+graduating+in+December+if+Lemont+does+not+return+to+in+person+learning+by+second+semester.

Nour Longi

Lemont High school senior Leah Iaquinta expresses her grievances about missing out on the opportunities only an in-person education can offer through a five minute speech. Iaquinta plans on graduating in December if Lemont does not return to in person learning by second semester.

Nour Longi, Editor in chief

On Sep. 17, students and parents gathered in Orland Park to rally for in-person learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thursday’s event was a part of a string of protests throughout Illinois suburbs, including Barrington and Wheaton. This one focused on District 230, but attendees came from surrounding Southwest suburbs, including Lemont.

“We are putting pressure on our local school boards to revise their reopening plans for a more common sense approach,” said Diane DeVito, a parent of a student at Schaumburg High School, who helped organize the event, “Also to put pressure on the Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor Pritzker to adjust their very strict guidelines to make it easier for our school boards to revise their plans.”

Participants held signs in Crescent Park with various slogans, such as “Let us play” and “E-learning gets an F for education.” These signs reflected the main grievance for remote learning held by most protesters: e-learning is ineffective. 

“E-learning is not rigorous enough. We need to prioritize our kids!” said Jennifer Brown, a parent.

In addition to concerns about the rigor of E-learning, Devito, along with other attendees,  raised concerns of increasing depression and suicide rates and beleive each student should have a choice to attend school in-person or not.

The rally was met with one counter protester; he held a sign that read “Keep our kids home” on one side and “How many of us dying is okay?” The protester raised concerns about school districts having to re-adapt to in-person learning and urged people to “let experts do their job.”

The event held an hour-long presentation of  speakers including students, a retired teacher, and other members of the community. Among these was Leah Iaquinta, a senior from Lemont High School, who delivered a five minute speech expressing her frustrations about  losing opportunities and the setbacks of remote learning.

“I don’t want to waste my time anymore, which is exactly what remote learning is doing for me and the rest of us,” said Iaquinta, “We need a change in government restrictions and mandates. We need to mirror our neighboring states who are successfully and safely back to in person learning.”

Students at Lemont High School are currently attending school with a hybrid schedule. As of October 5, 2020, there are 303,394 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Illinois, as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

 

Lemont High school senior Leah Iaquinta expresses her grievances about missing out on the opportunities only an in-person education can offer through a five minute speech. Iaquinta plans on graduating in December if Lemont does not return to in person learning by second semester. (Nour Longi)
Amidst the people rallying for schools to reopen, there was one counter-protester, who requested to stay anonymous. He believed it would be more efficient for schools to wait until the second semester to reopen schools. (Nour Longi)