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Return to Learn wants students back in the classroom

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -

Happening Friday, a group making their voices heard outside the County-City building calling for students to be allowed back in the classroom.

Around 50-60 people showed up with signs calling on the health department in St. Joseph County to change how it makes recommendations to schools. Return to Learn would like to see the department make recommendations based on individual communities and not the county-wide COVID-19 numbers.

“We believe that school is an essential service in the community much like healthcare and public safety,” Bryan Jones says. He is one of the organizers of the Return to Learn rally.

The rally hoping for a return to the classroom for students, or to at least have the choice.

“For me, it’s about the right to choose, to have the choice to send my students in-person, and that choice has been taken away from us,” Tammy Yohe says.

Those at the rally feel students can be sent to in-person class if the focus is on making schools safe.

“Social distancing, wearing face masks, maybe hallways one way or the other, reduced classrooms, maybe there’s a hybrid model,” Jones says.

The Return to Learn group says if we can go out to eat, then why not have students in the classroom?

“Strategies are being put into place to allow us to go do those in a low-risk environment. We feel like school also should have that option available,” Jones adds.

The health department says looking at individual parts of the county and specific communities for COVID-19 cases is something they’re working on.

“We want to get the most granular information not only to inform decision making about return to school, but really to track cases going forward because we need to keep an eye on the dials to see if we’re seeing an increase in cases in a given school or school district,” Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says.

The Return to Learn group is ready to return to normalcy, but with safety in mind.

“There’s always going to be cases. There’s always going to be a dashboard. There’s always going to be a number, and when is it acceptable to look at a number and go ‘that’s ok’? Right? The virus is going to spread. It will continue to go to different places, but at what point do we finally go ‘Ok, let’s give this a try and let’s move beyond staying at home,’” Jones says.

The local Return to Learn has a Facebook page you can find here.

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