Amanda Spans: 2021 candidate for Wheaton Warrenville District 200 school board
Ten candidates are vying for four, 4-year terms on the Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school board in the April 6, 2021, election.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Civic involvement: I have volunteered in multiple local elections in the past three years.
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 am running because the students need a school board that will put students first.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I would give the current school board a D on its response to the pandemic. The initial response was done with limited information, but the current board has failed to use new information and apply it to the problem presented. If a student were to take the same approach on a class project, they would not pass the assignment.
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. My role is to gather information and make an educated and well thought out decision based on all the needs of the students. There will be disagreements, and it is my role to make sure that those disagreements are handled with an open mind and an evaluation of the effects of those end results on the students. If the data shows a clear need for what is best for the students, even if it is in opposition to what I feel, my role is to choose what is best for the students.
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. No, my district did not in any way adequately serve students during the disruption. Students have been forgotten, their social-emotional needs neglected. The middle and high school students have had their identity and purpose stripped from them, and the elementary students have had critical components of elementary education stripped. Social interaction and peer support in the classroom is a vital part of education. Music, Art, and PE should not be taught virtually, and 4 hours is not adequate time in class for the elementary students.
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. The first change I would make is to return all students to full-day, in-person, five-day-a-week classroom time for those whose families choose it. I have the benefit of seeing first hand how preschool through eighth grade can do this, and have researched high schools that have done this around the country.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. Sports are essential to the mental well-being of our students. Lack of activity and interaction with peers leads to depression, physical health deterioration, and a loss of a sense of community. Students should be able to, along with their parents, make a choice as to whether they would like to participate in sports. The choice should not be taken away from them.