I hope that this message finds you and your family in good health. I hope your students are finding ways to enjoy this summer and refresh after a very hectic end to the 2019-20 school year.
Within days of the end of remote learning, our staff began planning for the 2020-21 school year. As you can imagine, there are an incredible number of challenges to planning for what's ahead. At this time, no decisions have been made about what school will look like in the fall. No matter what decision is made, this fall will not look like any other that we have experienced.
Based on the feedback the district has received, there are families who want the schools open because of concerns about childcare, a preference for in-person learning, and other reasons. There are also families who have indicated they will not send their students to school in the fall because of medical concerns for their student or a family member. Many families are waiting for more information.
All of these perspectives are grounded in legitimate concerns and the district must plan to address the needs of each student.
In our planning, the CCSD 89 staff has identified core principles to guide the work. They are:
- Maintain the health and safety of all students.
- The district will follow federal and state guidelines, including the DuPage County Health Department, CDC, and the State Board of Education.
- Provide meaningful and engaging academic experiences for all students.
- Whether learning in person or remotely, students should find the work challenging, enriching, and engaging.
- Address the social and emotional needs of all students.
- Students will be provided emotional support while school is in session. Students will continue to have access to necessary therapies.
- Provide consistency and stability for all students and staff.
- In the areas that the district can control, CCSD 89 will strive to provide students a consistent educational environment.
- Provide continuous professional learning opportunities for staff that address learning needs unique to this time.
- Staff will continue to learn more about how to address educational needs while living in a pandemic.
Possible learning environments for fall
With those principles guiding the work, at this time, the staff is preparing for three possible learning environments in the fall:
- In-person learning. This would mean all students returning to our school buildings with appropriate health and safety practices in place.
- A hybrid or blended model of in-person and remote learning. This would mean students returning to school in a model that would have some in-person learning, and some remote learning.
- Remote learning. This would mean all students would be engaged in meaningful schoolwork at their homes.
Each of these solutions presents serious obstacles for learning, safety, transportation, and much more. The CCSD 89 staff is working through all of the possibilities. The staff continues to gather as much information as possible from local, state, and federal health and education officials. The district is constantly adjusting to new guidelines and recommendations.
All of these plans will be significantly impacted by whether the state is able to move into Phase 4 of the governor's Restore Illinois guidelines. Phase 4 would include social distancing, face masks for students and staff, and limited group sizes.
Your feedback on 2019-20 remote learning through the Thoughtexchange is driving the district's planning. You can see a summary of the feedback the district received here: https://bit.ly/30OAMLW
Survey being sent via email on Monday, June 22
The district is committed to letting you know information as we have it, and we will regularly communicate throughout the summer. The next communication is expected to be a survey that will be sent via email on Monday, June 22.
On Monday, you will receive a short survey about your family's current plans for the fall. This is a non-binding survey. The purpose is so the district can plan for staffing and resources. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey.
Thank you for your commitment to learning. More than ever before, learning is a true partnership between home and school.
Emily K. Tammaru