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School district issues pajamas ban for students learning from home

The Springfield School District's rule for remote learners has drawn a fiery response from many parents.
feet of young boy dangling off tall bench seen from underneath table
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/ Source: TODAY

An Illinois school district has banned students from wearing pajamas while engaged in online classes at home — and parents aren't so sure they like the rule.

The Springfield School District's student and family handbook for the 2020-2021 school year says that students participating in remote learning are to follow the district's regular school dress code — in other words, no "pajama pants" or "slippers."

"Hats, caps, bandanas, hoods of any type, sweatbands, sunglasses, pajama pants, slippers, or shoes with wheels attached to the bottom shall not be worn in the buildings," the handbook states.

Fall classes in the district, which is home to 33 school campuses, begin Aug. 31 under a hybrid model of two days in school buildings and three days online each week to help students socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic. Parents also have the option of full-time remote education.

While some parents in the district say a no-PJs rule would help foster structure and routine for kids learning at home, many others were angered by it.

"This is insane. They are at home. Let these kids be comfy if they are going to be at home. It's not like anyone is going to see them anyways," one mother commented on the Facebook page for NBC4 in Illinois.

"Kids grow out of clothes. This is a pandemic. Many parents have lost their jobs. Let’s leave it up to the parents," wrote someone else.

Some wondered how the school district would enforce a dress code for kids at home.

"They gonna come investigate everyday? Don’t worry about what my kids are wearing in MY house," wrote one angry father.

School board member Judith Ann Johnson told NBC News on Friday that she's received no pushback from parents over the rule. "If you're dressed nice you’re better able to perform," she said.

In a statement to TODAY on Friday, Springfield School District spokesperson Bree Hankins said there are no plans to strictly enforce a school dress code for students at home.

"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. However, we understand the interpretation of the dress code in a remote learning environment will differ than in a normal school setting," said Hankins.

"It is understandable that during remote learning our dress code will be flexible," she added. "We do not intend to be punitive or to prescribe what students wear at home during remote learning, especially in this period of uncertainty and adjustment for students, families and staff. If there is a specific concern as it relates to dress code, we will address it individually with the student and their family.

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