School officials reflect on closure

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After Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that Illinois’ schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year, local school leaders took to social media to reflect on the year and honor students. 

Illinois schools first closed after March 16 to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Educators expressed regret that high school seniors, especially, and all students may not be able to participate in school events like prom or graduation. 

“It just hurts me that these kids can’t have these things,” Waterloo High School Principal Lori Costello said at Monday’s school board meeting. 

School officials also agreed that it was not just high school seniors who deserved to be honored or who are missed. 

“I learned something very important today,” Columbia Middle School Principal Angela Huels posted Friday on Facebook. “For my entire life, I have always told people ‘I love school.’ Today while I was at school and our news came, the silence started to overwhelm me. I miss the voices, the smiles and the commotion. So I suppose it’s not school that I love, but the people.” 

Waterloo Superintendent Brian Charron agreed with that assessment. 

“I anticipated this happening, but once the formal decision was announced it weighed on me unexpectedly heavy,” he said. “I’m sure to some extent the kids appreciated a break from the daily routine of school, but we miss our students. And we’ve heard from a number of them that they miss us.

“At the same time, we recognize the most important thing is for everybody to be safe, and this is the right thing to do for our teachers, kids and their families to be safe.” 

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