Several downstate school districts are asking for a seat at the table with Governor J.B. Pritzker when it comes to after school and extracurricular activities being canceled or changed. The letter outlines several challenges that more than 200 school superintendents have seen across the down state region.
The letter says that the governor should consider 3 factors in making any furthers decisions in cutting sports and after school activities: “School districts have shown that when given the opportunity, we rise to the challenge and find the delicate balance between health and safety of our school communities while providing for continuity of learning.”
It goes on to say that districts are creative in finding ways to make things work in the educational environment and would likely do the same for extracurricular activities. The last thing it asks the governor to do is consider that COVID-19 cases and statistics have shown that infections come from outside the school and not within them. The letter says that the cancellation of sports will drive many students to participate in sports out of state on unregulated clubs and teams possibly creating a greater risk of infection with the virus.
The school districts represented by the letter are asking to work with IDPH to come up with a safe plan to conduct the activities and move forward. Several districts in the WLDS/WEAI listening area have signed on to the letter including Greenfield, Northwestern, New Berlin, North Mac, Pleasant Hill, PORTA, Winchester, and Bluffs.
Collectively, the districts range in sizes from 100 to 7,500 representing approximately 200,000 students in downstate. The superintendents say that they want to cease irreparable harm to students by not providing them the extracurricular outlets they need, and that they feel that they can best care for their students’ safety during this time. They feel that the one-size-fits-all is both an unfair and impractical approach to the situation.