District 204 pursues in-person learning despite rising cases in COVID-19


Killian Johnson

Students are worried about if school will remain in-person or return back to remote learning.

Allison Davids, Headlines Reporter

The country has seen a massive spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Before District 204 students returned from winter break, District Superintendent Adrian Talley sent out an e-newsletter on Jan. 5. In the e-newsletter, Talley explains the newly updated guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise in COVID-19 cases, neighboring schools and universities have been switching back to remote learning. Despite the positive impact that has happened with the return of in-person learning students and staff are concerned about their safety. 

“Guidance from the state says that districts can not shut down prematurely,” Assistant Principal Dan DeBruycker said.

Talley’s e-newsletter sent out explained that District 204 is not able to switch to remote learning. The writing states, “As a school system in Illinois, we are not allowed to move to remote learning across the whole district.” Illinois schools are encouraged to stay in-person learning for 

the student’s mental health, and well being. According to an article from NBC Chicago news the writing states, “The majority of students need full-time in-person access to their teachers and support network at school to stay engaged, to learn effectively, and to maintain social-emotional wellness,” IDPH officials said. 

The e-newsletter also said that if COVID-19 cases are high at a specific school the district can switch that specific school(s) to remote learning, “We are only allowed to provide remote learning at a specific school or at specific schools due to the number of positive cases of COVID-19 within a school or across some schools.” 

Furthermore, DeBruycker explains that the school may have to shut down due to the lack of teachers, staff, and buses. With the return to school after winter break the week of Jan. 10 the number of absences was not high. With over 3000 students, and staff in the school a range of 60 to 70 students, and 12 to 15 staff members were absent during that week. 

“It is a small percentage for sure and we hope that it stays that way. We hope that COVID-19 numbers significantly drop here as soon as possible,” DeBruycker said. 

There are around six substitute teachers that are available to fill in absent teachers. Teachers also help supervise  various classes if needed. With the bus shortage, buses have been running double routes to get students to the school or home on time. 

“The district will do everything they can to problem solve, and keep students in the building safely… There are some inconveniences without a doubt,”  DeBruycker said. 

With these minor inconveniences, students have fears about the district switching back to online learning. If needed the school can use emergency days or go remote for a few days, but as of now, in-person learning remains.