ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Parents and students continue to put pressure on Gov. JB Pritzker to reopen schools and school sports.

Rallies were held Thursday in the northwest and southwest suburbs, including Orland Park. As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, parents said the status quo – rooted in precautions for COVID-19, is doing more harm than good.

Sources said the discussions were continuing Thursday night, and that the Governor’s office is at least reviewing these requests to return fall sports in Illinois.

Meanwhile, there was another night of rallies, and at least right now no end in sight.

“If you’re playing it correctly, there is no contact whatsoever,” said St. Lawrence High School freshman volleyball player Ella Woltman.

Woltman is sitting out this season like everyone else, but gets one “contact day” a week.

“If you could do a ‘contact day’ where kids are interacting with each other, then you could do a practice,” Woltman said. “You could do a normal practice.”

Right now. Illinois is one of just 12 states not playing fall high school sports. Gov. Pritzker reiterated this week why he says there’s good reason for that.

“While parents might choose to send their children out onto the playing field, I can tell you that someone who becomes ill because of that decision wouldn’t call that your ‘personal choice,’” Pritzker said.

It’s not just athletics that were the focus in Orland Park Thursday night.

“I don’t learn as well just staring at an iPad,” said fourth grader Lanie Jablecki.

Sixth grader Charlie Jablecki said he is equally stressed. Hickey asked him if he ever thought he would be begging to go back to school.

“Not really,” he said. “You know, it’s like, ‘Oh I don’t like school,’ but this has made me realize that in order to succeed, you need to get an education and you need to go to school to learn.”

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is a very vocal critic of Pritzker’s reopening plan. He stood in solidarity with ralliers Thursday night.

“Our cases are half of what they’ve been in the previous three months,” Pekau. “In this area, parochial schools are back in, some districts are back in, and they’re making it work – so all the schools need to be doing that.”

Their calls were also echoed in the northwest suburbs, where parents and students rallied outside and then went inside the District 211 School Board meeting in Palatine Thursday evening.

We’re learning there are possibly three more rallies scheduled in Chicago this weekend, and another in Naperville on Monday.

A group of Illinois students are also planning to attend a football game tomorrow in St. John, Indiana where the season is well underway.

 

Megan Hickey