District 204 Rally to Reopen Schools; Facebook Live

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Rally to Reopen Schools

Some Indian Prairie School District 204 parents organized a “Rally to Reopen” schools today, advocating for the district to give them a choice to return to in-person learning.

While the group, IPSD 204 Parents Advocating for Choice, supports remote learning for families who want it, they also want a choice to bring their kids back to the classroom. They are asking the district, board of education, and teachers’ union to come up with a plan of action to get students back to in-person learning immediately.

Around 100 people gathered at the rally in front of the main District 204 building on Shoreline Drive in Aurora.


Seven speakers, which included parents and students, talked about why they feel like the district should offer an in-person learning option.

“Without school we have been alone and isolated as ever. We deserve a real school and a real education, not looking at a computer screen all day in our room,” said seventh grade Gregory Middle School student Max.

“I am outraged for those who cannot afford private schools. I am outraged for special education students who are not receiving the services that they deserve. I am outraged for teachers who are doing double the work,” said parent Kavitha Sivanandan. “I am outraged for students who are suffering from mental health issues because they are alone. They don’t have anyone to interact with, they just look at the Zoom screen all day.”

There were also two keynote speakers – Adam Russo, who is a local therapist and Naperville School District 203 parent and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Paul Vallas.

“The destructive impact of remote learning on those children is permanent. Because young children, preschool and kindergarten children, their minds are developing in an accelerated pace. And remote learning does all the opposite things that a school should do – the social interaction, development of motor skills, initial communication skills,” said Vallas. “We are doing serious damage to the next generation.”

Petitions on change.org

The group also started a petition on change.org addressing District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley, the school board, and teachers union to share their request for the choice to return to in-person learning.

At the time of reporting, the petition has over 650 signatures.

Another petition on change.org is asking the school district to remain in remote learning until the DuPage County Health Department and other health metrics show it is safe to offer hybrid learning.

As of now, the health department recommends districts remain in full remote learning. Under Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations, each school district is able to choose whether they want to return to in-person learning.

At the time of reporting, the petition has over 650 signatures.

Message from D204

On Friday, District 204 sent out an email to families to explain they are planning to transition to hybrid learning starting the week of January 19.

Organizers of the rally said they don’t want to wait until January 19 and are asking the district to send kids back to full in-person learning five days a week.

The district will discuss its hybrid learning transition plan at tomorrow’s board of education meeting.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.