We wanted to give an update as to what direction the district will take to reopen school in the fall. In early June administration met with teachers and support staff to begin looking at options for educating students when school resumes in August. This committee met regularly through June and July and focused the attention on recommending a hybrid model which would allow parents to choose face to face instruction or remote learning to start the year.
As we moved into mid-July the face to face plan became more difficult to facilitate due to the restrictions put in place on distance, numbers of people in spaces, and the requirement to wear masks in school. The committee struggled with how we could safely educate our children on a daily basis. Not only did we take the safety of our children into consideration, we also discussed the struggles staff would have and how we would effectively teach if individuals became positive with COVID-19.
As we have seen, numbers have spiked in many states across the country including a rise in the State of Illinois. I began gathering more information from area superintendents as well as health information from the Lake County Department of Health. I shared this information with our committee because other school districts were having similar struggles trying to keep face to face instruction safe for both students and staff. Our model began to change as we looked at a phase in plan similar to how the State of Illinois put in place “Restore Illinois Phases.”
Last night the committee’s proposal was shared with the board of education and approved. The district will begin the school year with all students being educated remotely. Furthermore, the plan details a phase in process that will begin using criteria from the Illinois State Board of Education, any order or executive decision from the governor. Health data obtained through the Lake County Department of Health, our staff/committee, and Board of Education.
The district will continue to correspond with families regarding the current status and any timelines when the next phase will begin. It is our goal that families will have a minimum of a 2-week window to prepare for any upcoming phases or changes.
At this time the committee is still putting together more information for parents and staff regarding expectations for remote learning. This new model is very different from the model used in the spring as staff will be providing more face to face instruction via Chromebooks. We hope to have more information available to families next week as well as the weeks after leading up to the first day of school.
As a recap, here are the three priorities moving forward:
Priority 1 – Maintain a safe educational environment for both students and staff by providing remote learning for all students to begin the year.
- Pre-Kindergarten will only be available to eligible students based on the criteria set by the State of Illinois “Pre-School for All.” Those families qualifying will be contacted by the district.
- Kindergarten will only be offered half days for the 2020-2021 school year
- Registration will be half of the normal fees for this school year.
Priority 2 – Ensure that remote learning is rigorous and expectations are met by students, staff, and families.
Priority 3 – Phase in student face to face learning when criteria for safety is met.
As always, it’s important we continue to work together and support our students. Thanks again.