Douglas John Orlyk: 2021 candidate for West Chicago High School District 94 School Board
Six candidates are running for four seats on the West Chicago High School District 94 School Board in the April 6, 2021, election.
City: West Chicago
Occupation: Teacher, West Chicago Elementary School District 33
Civic Involvement: Did not answer
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: I have been a teacher for 26 years, and I feel that someone with this many years of experience in education, working in the classroom, brings a much-needed perspective to the board.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I feel they have been cautious, following the guidelines of the CDC and the state. I am not aware of what kind of demographics are available, or what attempts have been made to verify "hot spots" within the city of West Chicago, but this information might have helped inform decisions.
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A: We have to trust experts in science and medicine. I believe our state government is doing this, and I defer to the ISBE and the Governor's office.
Q: Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: I believe they have served students the best that they can. I think it's extremely important that parents have had the choice to have their child remain remote as needed, based upon individual, home, and family circumstances.
Q: Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?
A: I think it is extremely important that full in-person learning not resume until all students have been vaccinated. Until that time, hybrid is the safest choice, with masks and social distancing remaining enforced.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: If masks are worn, temperatures are taken, and students and staff are frequently washing/ sanitizing hands, it is something that might be considered. However, I would be concerned about students passing equipment (basketballs, volleyballs, footballs) from person to person without wearing gloves. It is important for students to be getting exercise, but I don't think it is worth the risk to try to see programs fully implemented until conditions have improved and vaccines have been administered to all students. There is no other activity in school that requires students to have physical contact/ closeness with one another.