EVANSTON, IL — All indoor and outdoor extracurricular activities at Evanston Township High School were suspended until further notice ahead of new statewide coronavirus mitigation measures that went into effect Friday.
The Tier 3 mitigation measures require the suspension of all indoor sports and group recreational activities, and the Illinois High School Association has halted all winter sports seasons.
Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said ETHS suspended all extracurricular activities — including fine arts and student activities — in addition to athletics. As an additional step, Withspoon said the district had also halted all outdoor activities.
"We understand that this is a disappointing transition for many students who participate in sports, clubs, rehearsals, and other activities," Witherspoon said. "Students will still be able to participate in online virtual experiences in athletics and activities."
ETHS students have been on fully remote learning all school year after administrators said the risks of trying to bring students back with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning was not worth the benefit.
Witherspoon and ETHS Principal Marcus Campbell discussed the new suspension during a livestreamed discussion Thursday.
"I know this is hard. This is hard for me too. Hard for my mom, and various family members," Campbell said. "And it was hard to cancel Thanksgiving because we haven't seen each other. One of my aunts I have not seen, and my cousin was adamant about us seeing her and I said, 'We just can't.' And so we didn't. And then the breaks and holidays are coming up that are going to make this especially difficult."
Remote learning is most popular among staff — 77 percent are satisfied with how it is progressing, compared to 71 percent of parents and 60 percent of students, according to survey results cited by the superintendent.
Campbell said teachers and staff are doing everything they can to support students to finish the rest of the semester strongly.
"We have no idea how long this pause may be," Witherspoon said. "If you're monitoring what's happening — not only nationally but in Illinois and in Cook County — I expect this pause to last quite a while."