Sean C. Gay: 2021 candidate for District 128 school board
10 candidates are vying for four seats (4-year term) in the 2021 Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128 race.
Occupation: Wealth adviser
Civic involvement: None listed
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 as a father of four (one current LHS student) to represent the deeply frustrated parents of D128. I think the current board members have kept the residents of D128 on mute for the last year. The particular issue that motives me is the complete disconnect of the board from the parental input and survey responses throughout the prior year.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: D. I have witnessed personally two other schools that have been back in person full five days a week since August of 2020 with no issues. Friends and family schools have been back to full five days a week or hybrid since August of 2020. One friend that actually had HS football last Fall, with very little issues. Keeping kids a home is not healthy for their social, emotional, and academic development.
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: I view my role coming from the role of bravery. Leadership needs to know where the voter stands on an issue at large. That requires listening and discussing all peoples concerns and being accessible but then leading and speaking out with what the majority thinks is best.
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. I have heard from 504 learners that the remote process is woefully difficult. Most of these kids feel very much cut off from the world. What could have been done better was to actually set a metric for local infections and used that as an if/then default to go remote or back to five day a week. Our leaders could have adjusted schedules like many schools did by having a full semester before Thanksgiving and then delaying second semester start to mid-January then effectively avoiding the time when the spread of viruses is traditionally high.
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: Yes. The approach should be exactly what is happening in the business sector today. Full in person school five days a week. Follow CDC guidelines. Then if the student/parent chooses to they can attend the class via a remote zoom meeting. Got bad weather, choose to attend via Zoom. Not feeling well, choose to attend via Zoom. Have an exposure or flu like symptoms, attend class via Zoom. Let those that are DARING have the full school experience for their well-being. Let those that are concerned about a virus have a choice to attend remote for their well-being.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: Sports are an integral part of development. Since sports are voluntary, I think they should be allowed to continue. The board needs to stop protecting people from themselves when it comes to voluntary activities.