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CCSD 89 schools will start the year with all students learning remotely

All Community Consolidated School District 89 students will be learning remotely until at least September 30. This change comes after new guidance released by the Illinois Department of Public Health on late Wednesday afternoon made it impractical to have a consistent in-person learning experience for students. 

The new IDPH guidelines require any staff member or student who has any COVID-19 symptom to be out of school for at least 10 days. Additionally, anyone in the same house as the student or staff member would also have to be removed from school for 10 days. 

In order to return to school after the 10-day isolation, the person would have to be fever free (without fever-reducing medicine) for at least 24 hours with no further symptoms or present a negative COVID-19 test.

This would mean that any staff member or student who had a runny nose or headache would likely be out of school for at least 10 days, even if the person has a known condition causing the symptoms.

You can view the IDPH guidelines here: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IDPH-School-FAQs.pdf

Even after the regulations were released Wednesday afternoon, the district continued to work toward finding a way to provide in-person learning. However, these health and safety guidelines would create frequent, lengthy staff, and student absences that would be completely disruptive to the learning environment.

CCSD 89 Superintendent Dr. Emily K. Tammaru said the staff is prepared to offer full remote learning. This summer, teachers spent thousands of hours preparing to educate both in-person and remote learners. 

“We’re devastated that we will no longer be able to offer our families a choice between in-person and remote learning. However, the safety of our students, our staff, and their families remains the district’s top priority,” Tammaru said. “We know how difficult this will be for many families and students in our district. Our staff is ready to support every student’s educational and emotional needs.”

The remote school year will begin for all CCSD 89 students on Monday, August 24. This does not affect the last day of the school year, which is still scheduled to be Tuesday, May 25. The state of Illinois allowed every district to have up to five planning days that do not need to be made up.

The district will monitor the local metrics during September and consult with the health department to determine if schools are able to open for in-person learning in October. The district will strive to give parents adequate notice of the next steps so they can prepare.

 

How will remote learning work?

Remote learning will not look the same as it did at the end of the 2019-20 school year, when teachers had to quickly transition. Since that time, teachers have developed new strategies and techniques for delivering online instruction. The teaching staff spent hundreds of hours this summer in professional development specifically focused on remote learning.

“Remote learning is school,” Tammaru said. “Staff will be held to high expectations for helping all students continue to grow, even during difficult circumstances.”

Student work will be graded and attendance will be taken. Together, students and teachers will build a healthy and welcoming classroom environment that encourages engaged learning, questions, and compassion.

Teachers and students will be learning during traditional school hours (middle school: 7:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.; elementary school: 8:50 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.).

Teachers will provide instruction that is synchronous (live lessons from teachers) and asynchronous (tasks that can be completed at any time). All live lessons will be recorded then posted on Seesaw or Google Classroom pages for students who were not able to be online during the live session.

Teachers will meet students for whole-class learning, small group work, and individual meetings throughout remote learning.

All students will have access to a district-issued device (Chromebook or iPad), which will be their primary learning tool. Teachers will use Seesaw or Google Classroom as the primary learning platform for the class.

If additional resources or materials are needed, teachers will work with their building principal to coordinate distribution with significant advance notice to families.

You can see the expectations for remote learning here: https://bit.ly/33UM1US

 

School day structure

Elementary

Students will be provided a class schedule that outlines when synchronous learning will occur, as well as a complete schedule for the learning day. Students will participate in most of the traditional parts of school, including: specials, Challenge, band, orchestra, interventions, English-language support, and special education. 

Middle school

Students will follow a traditional nine-period day, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences each day. All academic supports will be available to students including special education, English-language, and other interventions.

At Glen Crest, “blue schedule” days will be Mondays and Wednesdays and every other Friday. “White schedule” days will be Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday. The blue or white schedules will determine which subjects have live learning.

Blue schedule: Science, physical education, and English language arts teachers will provide live synchronous learning during the time the student would typically be in class. The teachers in the other subjects will provide assignments or activities to be completed that day. Teachers in the other subjects will be available during that time to assist students or meet in small groups.

White schedule: Math, social studies, exploratory classes, foreign language, and ACE will provide synchronous learning during the time the student would typically be in class. The student’s other subjects will provide assignments or activities to be completed that day. Again, teachers in those other subjects will be available to assist students or meet in small groups.

The district and individual teachers will continue to share more information about learning expectations for middle school students.

  

When would school re-open?

Whenever buildings are approved to re-open for in-person learning, the district will use the same safety protocols that would have been used if buildings had been able to open for in-person learning. Students and staff would be required to wear masks while inside, students would remain in static groups, and the district would do frequent cleaning of all school surfaces. Prior to Wednesday, those guidelines would have allowed the district to open for learning.

The district will continue to regularly communicate with all families through email and the district’s website.

Families likely have many more questions. More information about remote learning will be shared next week by the district and individual schools, including details about meal pick up and more.

Posted: August 14, 2020