PALOS HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — Just days from school doors reopening in some suburbs, teachers are already demanding they stay closed.
Elementary and middle school students in Palos Hills return to school Monday, and one teacher says the schools are not ready.
The district has a detailed safety plan laid out, but that teacher says she sees evidence that it will not pan out. She claims concerns are forcing some teachers to leave.
Teachers in North Palos Hills District 117 give the COVID-19 reopening plan a failing grade.
“The kids aren’t coming back to what everyone thinks they are,” the teacher, who wanted to stay anonymous, said.
She says there are clear cleanliness and social distancing issues.
“Storage rooms have become miniature classrooms,” she said. “We found dirty vents, dirty windows.”
Also, in her eyes, the remote and in-person hybrid system is just not feasible for learning.
“They’re expecting us to teach to students in front of us plus livestream at the same time,” she said.
She says students at the school will be mostly confined to classrooms with masks for the whole day.
“It’s not going to be that regular, happy, exciting place,” she said.
She and other teachers are demanding remote learning. Some of her colleagues concerned about COVID-19 have taken leave or gone to other districts.
CBS 2 found that is happening in a lot of places. For example, where the Northbrook/Glenview District 30 is going hybrid, six teachers have left. Where it is strictly remote at Hawthorn District 73 and DuPage County’s Community High School District 99, at least two teachers at both plan to leave. Downer’s Grove Grade School District has the most at seven teachers. Some are even retiring.
Concerns are coming as local coronavirus cases are popping up at schools.
Friday Thompson Middle in Saint Charles, which is on hybrid learning, reported a student with a case. School just opened there on Wednesday.
School in Palos Hills starts Monday. It was delayed after the district needed more time to prepare.
But for this teacher, it’s never too late to speak up.
“Not because we don’t want to be there, but because the district just isn’t prepared,” she said.
CBS 2 tried to reach the superintendent for comment but got no response.
Online the district says it follows state guidelines that are updated. The plan does include contact tracing, temperature checks and social distancing.