Dear District 86 Community,
On Wednesday, Aug. 12, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released updated guidance
on how schools can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We realize that these agencies are working hard to address the myriad and complex issues associated with this crisis. We also share their goal of ensuring that we do everything possible to preserve and protect the health and safety of our entire community. With that said, there are several major changes in the updated guidance that are new and could not be considered or accounted for by our Recovery-Revitalization-Restore (R3) Committee during the several months the group spent working on our return to school plans. These changes, including the ones listed below, may significantly alter or impact the effectiveness of our current hybrid model from an instructional and operational standpoint.
- Close contact is now being defined as “anyone (with or without a face covering) who was within 6 feet of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (with or without a face covering), for at least 15 minutes throughout the course of a day.”
- The period of close contact begins two calendar days before the onset of symptoms.
- All students and staff who have COVID-like symptoms (e.g., sore throat, headache, runny nose, cough, etc.) should be sent home, need to be diagnostically tested and must remain at home until test results are received.
- An outbreak is defined as “two confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections occurring within 14 calendar days of each other in individuals in the same classroom.”
In addition, we are still waiting for guidance on the following issues:
- Whether we can divide larger spaces (e.g., cafeteria, gymnasium, field house, etc.) into smaller ones for instructional purposes.
- The metrics we should be using at the local level to define school and community health.
- The status of athletics for the 2020-21 season.
In order to ensure that our hybrid plan aligns with the modified standards and expectations from the state, we have decided that all of our students (A, B and online) will start the school year in our Remote Learning 2.0 model (https://bit.ly/2Y1nJol).
By doing this, we can give our R3 Committee the time and opportunity to thoroughly review and assess the updated guidance from IDPH and ISBE, and identify any adjustments we need to make to our plans. You can access additional information about this decision by visiting https://bit.ly/3iyb9om
We recognize that the timing of our shift to Remote Learning 2.0 is not ideal, especially for our working families that have been planning their schedules around our hybrid model. We also know that this decision will be disappointing for those of you who have advocated for in-person instruction. Please know that we are committed to getting our students and staff back in our buildings as quickly as possible. However, we have the utmost confidence in our remote learning plan and the teachers who will be implementing it. In addition, given the seriousness and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to make health and safety our primary focus and top priority.
Below is additional information about our move to the Remote Learning 2.0 model, including a schedule for next week and beyond. We will share new information as it becomes available. We will also provide a detailed update during and after the board of education meeting on Aug. 27. In the meantime, I want to thank you for your time and attention to this message, and for your continued patience and support as we navigate this challenging situation.
General Overview About Remote Learning 2.0
- All students (A, B and online) will take part in the Remote Learning 2.0 model. Students who selected our online program will be re-enrolled in their original District 86 courses.
- Per ISBE guidance, every class meeting will have daily teacher contact (Zoom or Google Meet).
- Classes will meet remotely three days per week.
- Classes will be 75 minutes long two days per week and 25 minutes long one day per week. We established these class lengths based on the following factors:
- Feedback from the surveys we administered to stakeholders in the spring that indicated a desire for more instructional time.
- The need to provide additional time for transitions in remote environments.
- The benefits associated with providing access to deliberate, focused instructional blocks of time.
- The delivery of meals for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch will begin next week, and will be done in accordance with the process we used in the spring. We will contact these families directly with additional information about our plan.
- Nearly all of our clubs and activities will offer remote experiences for our students. Our activities directors and faculty sponsors will provide additional information about these experiences.
- We are still waiting for IDPH to approve the Illinois High School Association’s plan for the 2020-21 school year. You can access information about that plan by visiting https://bit.ly/3fiKjig. Our athletic directors and coaches will keep students and their families updated on the status of and plans for sports teams and their seasons.
Remote Learning 2.0 Schedule
The schedule for next week (Aug. 17-21) and beyond will be as follows:
- Students will learn from home on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 17-19). Classes will be held virtually from 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m., with early bird taking place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. Each class will be 25 minutes long, and will be conducted by teachers via platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. During the afternoon (1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.), students will either complete asynchronous work or take part in teacher-led interventions (individual or group). Teachers will share assignment information and the links for the Zoom or Google Meet sessions via Canvas or email.
- Students will shift to the schedule for Remote Learning 2.0 starting on Thursday, Aug. 20, and will remain in that model until such time as a transition to the hybrid model can be done safely, effectively and in full compliance with local and state health guidelines. The Remote 2.0 schedule will be as follows:
- On Monday and Thursday, periods 1 through 3 will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., with early bird taking place from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- On Tuesday and Friday, periods 4/5/6, 6/7/8, 9 and 10 will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- On Wednesday, classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m., with early bird taking place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. The afternoon will be focused on opportunities for teacher collaboration, as well as intervention and remediation activities.