Not many students 'sick' with Cubs fever Thursday, but for today's parade ...
Suburban school districts aren't reporting unusually high absenteeism among students or staff members Thursday due to post-Cubs championship euphoria.
But some educators say it might be a greater challenge to keep students in school Friday with the Cubs victory parade and rally scheduled in downtown Chicago.
Even before the late Wednesday night extra-inning victory, Elgin Area School District U-46 CEO Tony Sanders discouraged parents online from allowing their children to bunk classes the next day.
"Parents -- please let your students know there will be school tomorrow even if Cubs win. I checked with the state. A World Series win doesn't count as an 'Act of God' according to state law. Sorry," he wrote in a Facebook post.
But some Catholic schools were conceding Friday classes to the Cubs, with Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein and St. Thomas More in Elgin making attendance optional.
Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 spokesman Tom Petersen said it was business as usual at all five high schools Thursday, though Cubs fans were visibly happy about the championship. Moreover, he added, several of the district's sports teams are focused on competing in state tournaments this week.
A "Cubbie blue flu" drop in attendance among students or staffers did not materialize at two of Lake County's largest districts, but there was a palpable vibe in the hallways leading up to and after the historic win.
"Cubs blue has been sprinkled across the district for several weeks now in hopes of the big win that we saw last night," Round Lake Area Unit District 116 Spokeswoman Heather Bennett said. "While the game went into the late evening hours, and some may have anticipated a high number of absences today because of it, our students and staff walked in this morning full of excitement and ready to get to work! I am certain there are many sets of sleepy eyes within the schools today but well worth it after watching such an exciting Game 7."
Gurnee-based Woodland Elementary District 50 reported a similar atmosphere of elation.
"Our attendance was not down today, but many students arrived very excited about the outcome of the World Series," said Carolyn Waller Gordon, District 50 communications manager.
At Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300, many employees showed up for work earlier than usual to share stories about the Cubs' victory.
"I don't know where I've ever experienced positive energy like that," said Anthony McGinn, District 300 spokesman and a lifelong Cubs fan who as a child watched many games at Wrigley Field with his grandfather. "Everybody is here today and everyone is just in a fantastic mood. It's strange to think that this sporting event has really brought us a little closer together as a district. It's just remarkable. ... Something like this can bond an entire community. The energy is palpable right now."
Band students at Westfield Community Elementary School in Algonquin also came in early to play the "Go Cubs Go" song as other students walked in for the start of classes. And math teachers were using Cubs stats as part of their instruction, officials said.
Many school principals showed up in 2016 World Series championship gear for an early morning meeting with Superintendent Fred Heid, who shared a 10-minute anecdote about the Cubs, McGinn said.
Students playfully asked Heid on Twitter to cancel school and tests Thursday, so officials were anticipating some level of absenteeism.
Heid told teachers in a memo to feel free to modify classroom instruction, if attendance is down. "We kind of gave teachers a lot of flexibility," he said.
Though more high school students were out than usual, attendance was consistent in the middle and elementary grades, he said.
For Friday's parade and rally, Heid said it's up to parents to decide what they want to do.
"That's a choice you make. Every parent has the right to do that," Heid said. "We're not going to penalize anyone because of those decisions. This is one of those things that you kind of chalk up to a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. If we have a few more kids absent tomorrow because they choose to go to the parade with their families, I'd say there's a lesson in that. You are never going to have this same sense of accomplishment as what just happened last night."
Students at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein are receiving a day off they never expected when the academic season began.
With indications that many students' parents were planning to report them as sick Friday so they could attend the Cubs World Series victory parade, Carmel officials decided it would be better to cancel classes for the school's roughly 1,300 students.
"I was shocked," Carmel Athletic Director Andy Bitto said of his reaction upon hearing the reason there will be no classes Friday.
Bitto said he's a lifelong Cubs fan, but he won't attend the parade. He plans to work at what should be a quiet school instead.
Some Rockford Diocese schools, such as St. Thomas More in Elgin, also have canceled classes Friday so students can either attend or stay home and watch the parade.
• Daily Herald staff writers Eric Peterson, Bob Susnjara and Mick Zawislak contributed to this story.