Back to School: Masks and All
By Village Manager Phil Kiraly
For me, summer feels like it’s officially over, and that’s a good thing. Let me explain. While I love the warm days that summer brings, beginning the transition to the fall months is a significant milestone each year, but especially in 2020. Starting this coming Monday, our kids will be back in school. Like the turning of the seasons, this feels like it’s a step toward what’s next, a step forward. Even with a hybrid learning schedule, getting our kids back in school was a significant undertaking for our school administrators, and keeping them there will be no simple task.
My daughter will start preschool on Monday. She’ll be wearing a mask pretty much the entire time she’s in school (except for snack time!). That can be scary for a kid, and honestly, scary for parents too. But I felt reassured when she announced to me that she was happy to wear a mask because it meant she got to see her friends and get back to school so she could learn. Even at the ripe old age of four, she understands that her actions have tangible results…and it’s a lesson for us all. (Cue the #prouddad hashtag.)
As the Village President and Presidents of the District 35, Glencoe Park District and Glencoe Public Library Boards noted in their message to the community a few weeks ago, we all have a role in getting Glencoe through this pandemic. It means wearing masks. It means washing your hands frequently. It also means taking a pass on a party with friends or spending time in large groups. Just like my daughter’s actions, taking these steps helps has tangible outcomes: keeping our kids in school, helping our businesses stay open and getting our community back to normal as quickly as possible.
The single largest complaint the Village has received throughout the pandemic relates to people not wearing masks. Far too often, our Public Safety Officers have had to remind our residents to put masks on or disperse large groups. The Village’s focus has been, and will remain, on working closely with the community through education and frequent reminders of the importance of wearing masks and acting responsibly. You hear it not only from us but from Cook County, State of Illinois and national public health professionals as well.
As we start a new school year, please continue to stay vigilant and act in the best interest of your entire community by taking the precautions reiterated by so many. We all want life to start to feel normal again, and the only way that will happen is through the community coming together and taking action to make that return to normalcy a reality. I thank you for doing this for our kids, our neighbors and our entire Glencoe community.