After months of lockdowns, masks, social distancing and endless talk of COVID-19 and positivity rates, the time suburban parents have dreaded is nearly here — the start of the school year.

For many, the thought of sending their children to school during an ongoing pandemic could be causing sleepless nights as they watch and wait while their school district grapples with the details of how best to reopen — in-person classes, remote learning or a combination of both based on guidelines from state education and health authorities.

And many suburban districts are leaving it up to those same parents to choose how their children will learn.

“It’s a big decision for all,” said Merced Alfaro, whose youngest daughter, Daniela, 17, will start her senior year at Round Lake High School. “I worry for all the students, not just for my daughter.”

Despite concerns over COVID-19 hitting suburban Latino communities hardest, Alfaro is confident students will learn to be safe if adults set a good example.

“Right now, many parents are ready to start, but it’s a big responsibility for us, the community and the district, too,” she said. “We need to learn how to live with the virus.”

Illinois State Board of Education guidelines allow schools to reopen three ways ­– entirely in person, fully remote or through a blended learning model.

Picture Source: Canva

SOURCE ( Madhu Krishnamurthy & Marie Wilson / Daily Herald )