Our View: We should all do our part to keep schools open, in-person

A return to some level of in-person learning is incredibly important for students and their parents

Some students returned to the classroom this week after months of remote learning and many more are set to follow in the weeks ahead.

Keeping students there will be a task for the entire community.

School officials are hoping that by following the five key mitigations laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, they can keep COVID-19 from spreading within their walls.

Their efforts will be aided if we also do our part and keep the trajectory of new cases heading in a downward direction, especially as other parts of our society also begin to reopen.

Region 2, which includes Kendall, La Salle and Bureau counties, moved to less restrictive Tier 2 mitigations Friday.

Other areas still face worrying numbers.

The McHenry County Department of Health releases metrics designed to guide school districts in their decision-making process. Two of those metrics – the positivity and incidence rates – are higher than the thresholds recommended for hybrid learning, though the health department has advised that the metrics should be only one part of what districts look at it making their decisions.

Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 and Algonquin-based Community Unit School District 300 returned students to the classroom Monday and many more McHenry County schools are on track to follow next week.

A return to some level of in-person learning is incredibly important for the students and their parents.

We’ve heard from many concerned parents and educators – about students, who normally earn As and Bs but are seeing their first Ds and Fs on report cards; about our youngest learners who are missing out on socialization; and about at-risk and special education students some of whom may never make up the learning they’ve lost.

We agree that keeping kids in the classroom should be a top priority, and we should do everything we can to prevent a return to remote learning or even worse, a continuous jumping back-and-forth between remote and hybrid.

That means following the CDC’s guidance: Wear masks. Social distance. And avoid risky behavior whenever possible.