Dr. Russell announces framework for reopening schools in 2020-21

Dear District 58 Families,

On Monday, July 13, 2020, the Board of Education approved a framework for developing modified in-person instruction for students attending District 58 schools for the incoming 2020-2021 school year. This framework was approved based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), which states, “Schools and districts are encouraged to provide completely in-person instruction for all students in Phase 4, provided that the school is able to comply with capacity limits and implement social distancing.” Click here to view the presentation from that meeting. 

In addition to the modified in-person instruction, we are also developing an online learning option that could be made available for families who would prefer that their children not participate in any form of in-person instruction.

 In the event that the modified in-person plan may be not viable due to a variety of factors, including space constraints, staffing availability and feedback, we are also studying a blended learning model, where students attend both in person and remotely on an alternating schedule. These three learning models were initially explored by a Remote Learning Task Force, composed of staff, teachers, administrators and families. These plans take into careful consideration the safety and well-being of students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. District 58 will strictly adhere to the safety guidelines called for by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). For more information on these safety measures, click here for an FAQ from ISBE and IDPH. District 58 will also be developing a plan for full remote instruction, should state or local guidance change. 

This letter is to share the approved District 58 framework, seek your feedback, and provide an avenue to submit questions. Your input is extremely valuable as we develop the details for each of these models for the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that your feedback and the work of our principals and staff will be a critical part of finalizing and implementing the final plan for each building. The survey was sent to each family in the District. Please complete one survey for each student enrolled in District 58. The survey will be open through Monday, July 20, 2020.

Please click here to complete the District 58 parent survey.

Thank you for your assistance in helping us develop the best possible learning program for our students given this difficult situation. In addition, if you have questions about the models detailed below, please submit them via the survey. We will use them to compile a comprehensive Q+A to share with all of our families and post on our website.

 Yours in Education,

Dr. Kevin Russell

Superintendent

MODIFIED IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION MODEL

Framework: 

  • All students are onsite 5 days/week
  • All instruction would take place onsite
  • Nearly all spaces of a school will be utilized – gyms, libraries, etc. in order to ensure social distancing
  • Social distancing of six-feet and wearing masks would be required for all staff and all students
  • Specials will likely take place in classrooms and/or in a modified format
  • Outdoor classes and spaces would be utilized as much as reasonably possible to provide mask breaks in accordance with the IDPH guidelines
  • Students would remain in a cohort and not move throughout the building except when absolutely necessary
  • Class sizes of 14-19 will be maintained in a typical classroom to allow for 6-foot spacing of student desks to the greatest extent possible
  • Most students would eat lunch in their classroom (careful planning around students with severe food allergies would occur)
  • Middle school schedules would involve teachers moving classrooms more often than students
  • Grouping of students would be based on a number of factors including but not limited to special needs, accelerated placement, foreign language, etc.
  • Busing will continue but be limited to a maximum of 50 people per bus

Considerations:

  • The length of the instructional day may be slightly modified as we work to finalize the schedule
  • Kindergarten as a half-day only program may be considered to allow for greater space in the buildings 
  • Each building can accommodate classes of 14-19 with the following caveats:
    • In some cases two groups of students might be in a gym with two teachers
    • Staff may teach in different roles in which they are certified in order to accommodate additional grade-level sections  
  • Specialized programs should be able to maintain current structures
  • Some students/grades at Highland and Lester would need to attend other schools to accommodate social distancing/space. Potential options include:
    • Kindergarten sections could move to elementary “partner schools” at Pierce Downer and Belle Aire
    • 6th Grade could move to O’Neill
  • Preschool sections may need to be adjusted between the two PreK attendance centers (Henry Puffer and Indian Trail) to allow for appropriate social distancing

 

BLENDED MODEL (to be used if a modified in-person model is not feasible)

Framework: 

  • Students are onsite for portions of instruction and receiving portions of instruction remotely.
  • Onsite groups would be approximately 14-19, grouped by alphabet (A-L, M-Z as an example)
  • Social distancing of six-feet and wearing masks would be required for all staff and all students
  • Specials will likely take place in classrooms and/or in a modified format
  • Outdoor classes and spaces would be utilized as much as reasonably possible to provide mask breaks in accordance with the IDPH guidelines
  • Students would remain in a cohort and not move throughout the building except when absolutely necessary
  • Most students would eat lunch in their classroom (careful planning around students with severe food allergies would occur)
  • Middle school schedules would involve teachers moving classrooms more often than students
  • Grouping of students would be based on a number of factors including but not limited to special needs, accelerated placement, foreign language, etc.
  • Busing will continue but be limited to a maximum of 50 people per bus

Considerations:

  • Special programs, such as those for students with IEPs/504 Plans/English Language would likely be onsite more frequently
  • Remote days of the blended model would not resemble fully remote learning like in the spring

Formats could include:

  • Split-week options (half the alphabet attends one day and alternates with the other half of the alphabet. When students are not in-person, they attend remotely)
  • Week on/week off (half the alphabet attends one week and alternates with the other half of the alphabet. When students are not in-person, they attend remotely)

ONLINE LEARNING INSTRUCTION

 Framework:

  • We are considering offering a 100% online option at each grade level if there is enough interest.  This framework would be optional and in lieu of modified in person or a blended model for families who preferred to remain off site completely.
  • Students participating in this option will be committed to online learning for the first trimester
  • This option would likely mirror the District 58 summer school model in which students are enrolled in Acellus Learning (a self-paced, online program monitored by District 58 staff)

Considerations:

  • This option could be made available for families who would prefer their children not participate in any form of in person instruction