Illini Bluffs SD #327 Contacted by US Dept. of Education for Information on School Reopening Plans
Illini Bluffs School District #327 was recently contacted by the US Department of Education in regards to taking part in a "virtual showcase" to discuss the district's return to school plan. According to Illini Bluffs Superintendent Dr. Roger Alvey, the Department of Education has reached out to schools across the US and plans "on using lessons learned to educate other schools that are currently engaged in remote learning but plan on opening soon, for in-person instruction." Students, employees, and parents had a discussion with Frank Brogan, the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, where he conducted a Q&A session and learned about the district's reopening and mitigation strategies.
In speaking with the Department of Education, Dr. Alvey stressed that communication is the most important thing. Districts and schools need to communicate frequently and consistently with parents. Illini Bluffs has maintained communication with parents throughout the return to school process and recently shared a video about their COVID-19 mitigation strategies
For districts in the process of planning their return to in-person learning, Dr. Alvey noted the tremendous costs associated with returning, as well as the potential scarcity of items. As a result, Illini Bluffs decided to build some things themselves, including building their own hand sanitizer stations to mount dispensers on and making their own plexiglass dividers. Illini Bluffs has also received donations of cleaning products and sanitizer for their sanitizer stations and disinfectant sprayers from local businesses.
Presently, Illini Bluffs has about 75% of students doing in-person learning and Dr. Alvey thinks that number will continue to grow.