Dear District 86 Community,

During the board of education meeting on March 11, we announced that we will be moving to five days of in-person instruction after spring break that will follow our normal bell schedule (i.e., periods 1-10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Early Bird taking place from 7 a.m. to 7:50 a.m.). This decision was based primarily on the changes outlined in the Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools that was released by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on March 9.

Before detailing what students and their families can expect from an instructional and operational standpoint the rest of the school year, we want to make you aware of a change to our schedule for April 5. This will be a remote learning day for all students that will feature asynchronous instruction and follow an 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. bell schedule (25-minutes classes). We made this change so that our teachers have time to meet, plan and prepare for the resumption of in-person instruction five days per week. It will also give the buildings time to ensure that we have the necessary resources and supports in place to accommodate the increased number of students who will be on campus. There is additional information about the plans and schedule for April 5 included in the section below titled Calendar Changes. 

Lastly, we have created a form that the families of students who are learning from home on a full-time basis can use to request a switch to in-person instruction between now and the end of the school year. You can access the form and information about the process for requesting a switch by visiting https://forms.gle/xHpV7KrbdJmCeYGg6

I encourage you to please contact your child’s school if you have any questions. In the meantime, I want to thank you for your time and attention to this message, and wish you a safe and restful spring break.

Sincerely,

Tammy Prentiss
Superintendent
 
Classroom Instruction
  • The use of Zoom by students who are on campus for in-person instruction will be limited. These students will not need to log in to Zoom unless it is being utilized to facilitate collaboration between learners who are in class and at home. 

  • Students who are learning from home on a full-time basis will continue to use Zoom to access and engage in synchronous instruction. Unless they receive permission from their teacher, these students will be expected to have their camera turned on and their face visible at all times during class. 

  • Social distancing for instructional spaces has been changed from 6 feet to a range of 3 to 6 feet. While this will enable us to bring more students on campus for in-person instruction, it will still limit the opportunities that exist for those students to engage in small group work. 

  • Students will be grouped by learning location (i.e., in person or remote) whenever possible. With that said, there may be times when students who are in person are paired with classmates who are learning from home. In these cases, software, video conferencing, Chromebooks and headphones will be used to support collaboration between the groups. 

  • Teachers will communicate the ways in which they will work with students who are in person and remote. For example, they may say that they plan to work directly with the students at home for 15 minutes, but will let the students who are in person know the process for asking questions, getting help, etc. during that time period. 

  • Teachers will continue to vary the way they deliver instruction.
  1. Live instruction conducted in person for the students who are on campus and via Zoom for the students who are at home.
  2. “Flipped” or recorded instructional content, which will enable teachers to provide more direct assistance to students while they work. It will also give students the ability to pause, rewind and rewatch instruction to suit their learning needs.

  • Teachers will continue to establish and implement routines that will help streamline and maximize class time. These will include strategies for managing attendance, protocols for video conferencing and the process for requesting assistance (this was based on feedback from students who told us that they were not comfortable sharing these types of requests via the public chat feature on Zoom). 

  • Since teachers will still be working with students in two distinct learning environments following spring break, we ask that people continue to be patient and understanding. We also ask that students use the agreed-upon communication strategies (both for video conferencing and chat) for their classes.  

Assessments
  • Students who are in class and at home will have access to the same resources and materials. 

  • The use of apps or programs, messaging platforms or non-digital resources (e,g, Google Translate and Photo Math) during assessments is considered cheating, and is a violation of the district’s Academic Dishonesty policy. Teachers will respond to such activities as they would the use of any prohibited resource in the testing environment. 

  • Teachers will let students know what the expectations are for the testing environment prior to administering assessments.

  • Assessments will feature more “application” questions on tests and quizzes versus ones that are focused on providing definitions and/or recalling facts. 

  • We will not be administering traditional final exams this year. 

Attendance
  • Regular and consistent attendance is critical to the success of our students regardless of where they are engaging in instruction. 

  • Students who are learning from home will be expected to sign in to Zoom by the start of each class, and continue to use their Chromebook unless otherwise directed by their teacher. 

  • Absences and tardies will be enforced for all students. 

  • Starting on April 5, the consequences for excused and unexcused absences will be based upon what is listed in the student handbook. This means that three unexcused absences will not automatically result in a student being switched to the remote learning model.

Devices and the Distribution of Assignments and Materials
  • Teachers will communicate their plans/process for disseminating and collecting instructional materials. With that said, we anticipate that many teachers will continue to use a digital distribution system to help ensure greater consistency in the timing and format of the materials that students receive. 

  • Canvas will continue to serve as the main “hub” for instructional content and assignments. 

  • Using personal devices in an attempt to avoid the district’s filtering and classroom management software is a violation of our Responsible Use of Electronic Networks policy. With this in mind, students should always use their district-issued Chromebook during class time and their district-issued Google account when completing assignments. This will also help create a more seamless learning experience, and lead to better interactions with teachers and classmates. 

  • Students should make sure that their Chromebook is fully charged before they leave for school because there will be limited time and opportunity to charge it during the day.

Lunch
  • All students who are on campus for in-person instruction will be expected to eat lunch in the building on a daily basis.

  • Per the updated guidance from IDPH and ISBE, social distancing in the spaces where people are eating lunch will remain at a minimum of 6 feet. 

  • Tables, desks and/or chairs will continue to be forward facing.

  • Students will have an assigned space in the building where they will eat lunch. Information about lunch spaces and periods/schedules can be accessed via the Home Access Center. 

  • The updated guidance from IDPH and ISBE requires that meals be individually plated. It also prohibits the use/availability of buffets, salad bars and shared utensils. As a result, we will continue to provide students with grab-and-go meals prepared by Quest. 

  • We will continue to meet the needs of our students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. 

Passing Periods
  • Passing periods will be five minutes for all students (i.e., in person and remote). 

  • We are discontinuing the use of one-way hallways. 

Calendar Changes
  • April 5 will be a remote learning day for all students that will feature asynchronous instruction and follow an 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. bell schedule (25-minutes classes). Students will check in for each class via Canvas, and complete the assignments provided by their teachers. Assignments will be used to help expand learning opportunities in our courses, while also providing the students who are switching learning models (approximately 25% of every class) with important information and a chance to offer feedback. 

  • All juniors will take the SAT at their home school on April 13 starting at 8 a.m. Freshmen, sophomores and seniors will engage in asynchronous learning at home from 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. on this day that will be centered around assignments/activities that their teachers post on Canvas. These students will also need to check in to all of their classes via Canvas and record their attendance.

  • Given the return to the traditional bell schedule, we will be holding Flex Learning Days on April 21 and 28 so that staff will have additional time for planning and collaboration. On these days, in-person learners will report to school and have 25-minute classes with five-minute passing periods (no lunch) from 8 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. Remote learners will participate in these classes via Zoom.

  • The final three days of school for freshmen, sophomores and juniors (May 19-21) will follow an early release schedule. All students will have 38-minute classes with five-minute passing periods (no lunch). They will be free to leave at 1 p.m. on these days, but will be encouraged to meet with their teachers in the afternoon to discuss any missing assignments. As mentioned above, we will not be administering traditional final exams on these days.