Indian Prairie School District 204 had a special board meeting tonight where district staff unveiled their revised return to school plans for the fall. This upcoming remote learning plan will look different from that of the spring.
On July 13 D204 announced they’d be offering two choices for families for returning to school: hybrid learning, or remote. But 18 days later they changed their plan, saying they would be starting the school year entirely in remote learning based on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education, and local health departments.
Dr. Adrian Talley, the district’s superintendent, said a recent rise in COVID-19 cases across counties that fall within District 204 boundaries and a much higher rate of families signed up for the district’s remote learning plan were additional factors in switching the start of the school year to fully remote.
“With more than 46% of our children signed for the Online Learning we found ourselves really creating two different schools at the high school level,” said Talley. “We have more than 200 courses offered at our high schools. It was not possible for us to create both an in-person high school and an online high school having the same academic options for our students. Though we were offering 65 classes on our Online Academy, more than some of the other districts, it was not enough to provide the rigor our students need and deserve.”
The district’s plan is for students to be enrolled in remote learning until October 30 and extend that time if needed. They also said learning remotely will provide the highest level of protection against the spread of COVID-19.
Fall Remote Vs Spring Remote
A concern for some families, ever since school switched to remote in March, has been the thought of students not taking online learning serious. The district did acknowledge those concerns and said fall’s remote learning will look different from that in the spring.
“Under return to school, attendance will be submitted daily by students or parents,” said Deputy Superintendent Doug Eccarius. “Tasks and assignments will be required. Students will be assessed on their progress and will be given feedback on their performance. And participation is expected, and required.”
The district also said their online schedule and content in the spring was inconsistent, but has made changes. In the upcoming school year classes will be a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning, with 2.5 hours of synchronous learning. The district plans on making consistent check-ins between teachers and students, and all students will have the technology devices needed for online learning.
The district will also provide students and its staff with mental health resources.
IPSD 204 also announced that fall sports that are allowed by IHSA and follow the Governor’s guidelines would be allowed. Extracurricular activities will be permitted and clubs will start virtually with plans to meet in small groups in the future.
Eccarius said some classes like Drivers Ed. will need to be in-person. He said the group will elaborate more on what that will look like along with other details about the district’s return to learning plan on August 10. At that meeting, the board will also vote on moving the start of the school year to September 3.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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