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D. 202 slated to start returning to in-person learning Jan. 25th

District 202 students are scheduled to return to in-person learning between January 25 and February 16, 2021.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lane Abrell updated the Board of Education at its January 11, 2021 regular meeting on the plan to bring students back to classes in small groups as long as health and safety conditions allow.

CLICK HERE FOR THE POWER POINT SHARED AT THE MEETING

“As we have said many times this year, we all want our kids back in school,” Abrell said.

“But we must remember that this is a community health issue, and we must consider the impact that a large school district has on the rest of the community. We are trying to balance that fact with the fact that in-person learning is the best for most if not all, of our students.

“That is one of the biggest reasons we have been and continue to be so cautious,” Abrell said.

Parents recently informed the district whether they intend to send their students back to in-person learning or continue with remote learning.

Students who chose in-person learning will use a hybrid schedule, in the classroom two days, and at home three days.

Covid-19 statistics in Will County have improved since the high point in November. Assuming they stabilize or improve, students whose parents have indicated they intend to return to in-person learning will come back in this order:

  • January 25 – PreK-12 multi-needs and specialized programs
  • Feb 1 -   Grades 6 and 9, and 1st -12th grade Instructional Special education
  • Feb 1  - School Improvement Day, no instruction for Pre-K and K
  • Feb. 2 – All kindergarten and instructional special education preschool (early childhood)
  • Feb. 8 – Preschool tuition programs, Preschool for All, and grades 1, 2, 7 and 12
  • Feb. 16 – Grades 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11

The updated return schedule mirrors the original plan approved last summer. That original plan also started with multi-needs special education students because they need the most attention immediately and brought students back in small groups to allow for smoother transitions.

However, the updated plan also meets concerns from some community members by bringing high school seniors back earlier than the original plan last fall.

“We want to give seniors as much time in their schools and with friends as possible, since it is their last year,” Abrell said.

School days will be slightly shorter than normal – and lunch will not be served – to minimize the number and better control the movement of students in buildings and meet transportation schedules.

Elementary classes will run from 8:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Middle school will go from 7:55 a.m. to noon. High school will go from 7-11:15 a.m.

The half-day kindergarten morning session will run from 8:45-10:45 a.m., and the afternoon session will run from 1:10-3:10 p.m. 

Schools will send more detailed information to families this week.

HISTORY

District 202 started the school year August 31, 2020 with remote learning for all District 202 students.

District 202 announced plans in late summer to slowly return students to in-person learning in small groups to ensure safety. Parents could choose whether their students would return or continue with remote learning as the time for their students to return approached.

The first group -- about 300 multi-needs special education students -- returned to school on October 26, 2020.

District 202 started to return students to in-person learning on October 26, 2020 but implemented an “adaptive pause” that same day until at least the end of first semester as the COVID-19 metrics spiked.

The district extended its adaptive pause on November 9, 2020 indefinitely until conditions improved. The multi-needs students returned to remote learning on November 16, 2020

Meanwhile all district families recently received an “Educational Choice Form” in early December asking them to indicate whether they intend to send students back to in-person learning or continue with remote learning when the option is available.

Response to the Educational Choice Forms showed that 51 to 58 percent of parents plan their student to school for in-person learning, depending on grade level.

District administration will continue to monitor five key metrics used to help decide whether to return to in-person learning:

  1. Positivity rate (5 consecutive data points flat or trending down of COVID-19 cases in Will County)
  2. Guidance from IDPH, ISBE, and CDC as well as Kendall and Will County Health Departments
  3. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies are readily available and able to be refilled in a timely manner
  4. PPE supplies readily available and able to be refilled in a timely manner
  5. Substitute pool is greater or equal to the number of substitutes needed for in person learning.

The best way to get students back to in-person learning, Abrell said, is to do everything possible to get the numbers of COVID cases and the positivity rate back down to where they were a few months ago, and to become substitute teachers and paraprofessionals.

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