OpenNewTrier in the Chicago Tribune!
The Chicago Tribune covered OpenNewTrier's rally in a news piece on November 20. The article asked OpenNewTrier's Eric Hungness and Ted Dabrowski for their thoughts:
Dr. Eric Hungness, a physician and parent of two students at New Trier, was among the speakers at the Nov. 14 rally. Others speakers included Chicago radio personality and New Trier dad Mancow Muller and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas. Hungness implored officials at the high school to provide, “a safe daily and in-class option for our Trevian students.”
He said data show that the rates of COVID infection for teachers and students in school buildings is, “extremely low when basic precautions are taken...reopening schools can be done safely.”
“Our students need to be in the classroom every day, and our teachers need to be in the classroom every day,” Hungness said, adding that parents with concerns and teachers with significant medical issues should still have the choice to learn and teach from home.
Like Stevens, New Trier parent Ted Dabrowski, who helped organize the Nov. 14 rally, said he applauds the high school for launching its new voluntary saliva screening program as a tool to safely facilitate in-person instruction.
But Dabrowski, a Wilmette resident and public policy expert, said given some data show only low rates of virus transmission at schools, and considering the relatively expansive COVID safeguards in place at New Trier, officials should bring students and teachers back into the classroom for a half-day of school, five days a week.
“I think what we saw at the rally was heartfelt beliefs from so many parents that their students just can’t learn this way anymore,” said Dabrowski, who like many parents, is disheartened that his son has only had a handful of days of in-person learning since the arrival of the virus last March.
“I know these are difficult decisions, and our rally happened to coincide with a rise in cases. But the school has been closed all year, with the exception of one week in October, and now two weeks in November,” Dabrowski said.