Illinois School District Will Enforce Dress Code For Distance Learning

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Illnois School District Will Enforce Dress Code For Distance Learning
SolStock/Getty and Springfield Public Schools

Kids also can’t be sitting in bed while attending online classes

Parents and students in Springfield, Illinois learned that the school’s dress code policy will now apply to their homes as well when kids attend classes online. In addition to not being able to wear hats, bandanas, sunglasses, or slippers, they also aren’t allowed to wear pajama pants — a staple for most kids (and adults) since the pandemic forced everyone inside.

“We don’t need students in pajamas and all those other things while on their Zoom conferences,” Jason Wind, the district’s director of student support, said during an online board meeting of Springfield Public Schools this week. In addition to forbidding PJ’s, the district also says students learning remotely must be at a desk or table and not in their beds — a place where most kids get the quiet needed to concentrate on their schoolwork.

District spokeswoman Bree Hankins said in a statement that the guidelines were developed alongside teachers, administrators, and parents, and meant to provide consistency between in-person and online learning. “Our hope is that students approach remote learning as they would in a classroom setting, to the extent possible given each student’s individual circumstances,” Hankins said. “However, we understand the interpretation of the dress code in a remote learning environment will differ from a normal school setting.”

Their district, which serves approximately 14,000 students, will be going back on Aug. 31 with a hybrid learning model where students attend classes two days a week and learn at home for the other three. Understandably, parents are now faced with trying to find out where their kids can learn best. With many not having options besides a child’s bedroom because many parents are working remotely as well, it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance for kids who don’t have tables or desks to work from.

“Everybody doesn’t have a mansion that has a room that’s designated as an office,” Judith Ann Johnson, a member of the school board, said. “It’s perfectly fine if a child has a desk or if a child is comfortable sitting on their bed while studying. For me that’s fine, as long as they’re sitting up,” but also said having sleepwear on during class shows, “you’re not taking it seriously.”

John Freml, a parent who has a kindergarten and second-grader in the district told NBC News he’s not thrilled with more structure being put in place when families are barely getting by. “To put more barriers in place, ‘You have to sit at a table, you have to dress a certain way,’ does not make sense,” Freml said. “We have to meet families where they are and not put up more restrictions.”

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