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The overwhelming preference among parents and guardians of Evanston Township High School students is for their child to attend school in-person this fall, if the option is available.  This was one of the key findings of a parent survey recently conducted by ETHS.  Survey results were released on the afternoon of July 22, hours before a scheduled Town Hall video meeting with school leaders, who then confirmed the reversal of their July 13 decision to begin hybrid – in-person and remote – learning after Labor Day and reaffirmed their decision to postpone implementing that model.  

ETHS had been considering a combination of in-person and remote learning options when the parent survey was fielded.  However, during the last few weeks, school leaders became more concerned about the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 between students and from students to teachers and staff.  On July 18, ETHS announced the adoption of a remote learning model starting Monday, Aug. 17 to continue “until further notice” in an email to students, parents and guardians.

Almost three-quarters of parents, 1,397 out of 1,900 responding, chose the option for in-person school attendance.  A small number of parents (23) responded that due to underlying health conditions their student would not attend school in-person.

Asked to rank scheduling options, both parents and students preferred an in-person school scheduling option (either alternating weeks or days in school) over learning remotely at home full-time.

Instruction in core content areas was deemed critical.  Eighty-three percent of parents and guardians chose instruction in reading, writing, history, science and math as one of the top three priorities for students while attending school in-person.  Classes such as art, music, P.E. and electives also received strong support. 

Transportation to school did not appear to be a concern for students attending school in-person.  About 65% of parents indicated they will be able to transport their student to school.  Another 20% indicated their child planned to walk, bike or take public transportation to school.

The survey results are available here. 


ETHS Staff Concerns About Returning to Work

Evanston Township High School released survey results of 478 staff members on the afternoon of July 22. That evening, town hall meeting, Superintendent Witherspoon said there were technical difficulties with the survey, but did not elaborate.  Results are below.

Staff are highly concerned with exposure to COVID-19 as a result of returning to work. In addition, a significant number of staff (190 or 40% or respondents) identified as being in a high-risk group or a family member being in a high risk group as defined by the CDC.

Survey results are below. 


What concerns you most about returning to work?         # of Respondents (% of Respondents)

  • Being exposed to COVID-19,421 (88%)
  • The manner in which my work will change,189 (40%)
  • Getting re-acclimated to the office/school environment,80 (17%)
  • Childcare for my child or children,125 (26%)
  • Supporting students’ academic needs,183 (38%)
  • Supporting students’ social-emotional needs,24 (52%)
  • Concern for my own social-emotional needs,293 (43%)
  • Other,107 (22%)
  • No Response,21(4%)

Would you be unable to come to work because of any of the following reasons?

  • If schools or day-care centers were closed, you would need to care for a child,121 (25%)
  • If other services were unavailable, you would need to care for other dependents,29(6%)
  • If public transport were sporadic or unavailable, you would be unable to travel to work, 16 (3%)
  • If you or a member of your household fall into one of the categories identified by the CDC as being at high risk for serious complications from the pandemic influenza virus, you would be advised by public health authorities not to come to work,190 (40%)
  • Other55 (12%)
  • No response,180 (38%)

Safety precautions needed to feel more safe?                  Rating Important or Very Important

  • Daily Temperature Checks for all individuals who enter the building378 (78%)
  • Limit the number of people allowed in the building at any given time438 (92%)
  • One-way stairwells366 (77%)
  • Limiting visitors for essential business only413 (86%)
  • Limiting business travel for all employees352 (74%)
  • Visitors must have an appointment to enter412 (86%)
  • Staggered shifts355 (70%)
  • Staggered breaks317 (66%)
  • Staggered days in the office345 (72%)
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations431 (90%)