In-person learning will put community at risk
I am deeply concerned that Barrington School District 220 is considering opening its schools for in-person or hybrid learning despite health department recommendations. If the district proceeds with plans for in-person learning, it will endanger the Barrington community and beyond.
The discussion at the board meeting centered around liability and how much the district is willing to take on financially. I think that, as leaders, we all must consider our moral liability and responsibility first.
Preventable deaths are not liabilities that can be absorbed into a fiscal budget like wear and tear on vehicles or replacement equipment. COVID-19 is killing people across our state, and our community is not immune. As Illinois cases and deaths soar to new highs, it is not the time to ignore guidance and take chances.
I know that many in our community are struggling with the current remote-learning plan, and the district is under pressure from constituents to ease the very real pain that this pandemic has caused. I, too, feel my role being challenged in ways I never imagined; however, part of our responsibility as leaders is to prioritize what is right over what is easy. It is irresponsible to neglect our duties and go against expert health recommendations in order to silence critics or prematurely try to achieve a sense of normalcy.
I urge Barrington School District 220 to continue to follow CDC, IDPH, and Lake County Health Department recommendations throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond. Not doing so will cost human lives and send a dangerous message to all throughout our community, especially to the young people the district is responsible for, that they are expendable, and that public health guidance only needs to be followed when it is convenient.