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Illinois schools reopening updates: What suburban Chicago districts plan for fall

Tuesday, August 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Illinois officials have released guidelines for students to return to classrooms this fall, including face coverings, social distancing and limits on the number of people in a gathering.

School districts are coming up with their own plans. Some are sticking with remote learning, some are planning to reopen classrooms with modified schedules, and some are giving parents a choice. Here are updates from Chicago’s suburbs.

Naperville-area districts reverse course, will start with remote learning

Indian Prairie School District 204 and Naperville School District 203 students will do e-learning from home into October, reversing earlier plans to resume in-person classes on a staggered basis in September, the districts announced.

District 204 will do remote learning through Oct. 30 while District 203 plans to do so through mid-October as of right now.

Township High School District 211, Palatine District 15, Schaumburg District 54 to start with remote learning

Palatine-based District 211 and its feeder districts, revising previous plans, will now begin with remote learning.

District 211 includes Fremd, Palatine, Conant, Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates high schools.

East Aurora schools will now start with remote learning this fall, and West Aurora schools could follow suit

East Aurora officials said the district is going to all-remote learning this fall, while in West Aurora the superintendent will recommend to the School Board that the district also go to all remote learning for the first quarter of the new school year. — Linda Girardi

South suburban elementary schools spend millions to close digital divide as districts plan for remote instruction

When in-person teaching came to a halt in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and schools had to quickly ramp up remote learning plans, the digital divide in Dolton West School District 148 became a hurdle not all families could clear.

The district serves areas of Dolton, Harvey, Riverdale and South Holland, and 91% of its 2,300 students are in low-income households. Not all students had regular access to a laptop computer or tablet, and internet access was often spotty, Superintendent Kevin Nohelty said.

Some, such as District 148, are going remote, at least initially, while others are offering families the option of a hybrid that combines in-person learning with remote classwork.

Park Forest-Chicago Heights Elementary District 163 officials voted recently to begin the year with distance learning for the district’s 1,800 students, with laptops and tablets being issued.

Summit Hill Elementary District 161, which serves 2,800 students in areas including Frankfort, Frankfort Square and Tinley Park, will start the year Aug. 31 with remote learning and an eye toward a “gradual return” to in-person teaching.

Palos Heights District 128, with about 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, says it has enough space to do in-classroom teaching Monday through Friday, although as many as 20% of families have indicated they won’t send their children. — Mike Nolan

Many Southland high school students will be learning remotely this fall

Some south and southwest suburban high school districts will give students the option of continuing to attend school remotely as they announce plans that will toggle between students alternately in class or learning online.

Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 is letting parents choose between a blended learning or fully remote plan. Crete-Monee 201-U board members approved a plan that would initially have all students in kindergarten through 12th grade attend school remotely through Oct. 19. After that point, parents could opt to continue with online school or split school days between in-person classroom teaching and remote learning.

Officials in Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233 decided to start the school year with remote learning only.

Oak Lawn Community High School District 229 and Consolidated High School District 230 said families can choose between blended or fully remote options. District 230 includes Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Andrew High School in Tinley Park and Sandburg High School in Orland Park.

Waukegan schools to start with remote learning, uncertain when in-person classes will resume

Waukegan public school students will start the 2020-2021 school year Aug. 17 learning remotely as part of a four-step plan eventually returning them to complete face-to-face studies in their classrooms.

Administrators of Waukegan Unit Community School District 60 unveiled a four-pronged plan during a virtual Board of Education meeting Thursday to reopen their 15 elementary schools, five middle schools and the three campuses of Waukegan High School.

“We anticipate phase one will last for a while,” board President Brandon Ewing said. “We aren’t sure when it will be. We’re not going to rush.” — Steve Sadin

U-46 students to start year with remote learning

Students in Elgin-based School District U-46 will do remote learning through late October under the revised 2020-21 school calendar approved by the school board.

A hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction will begin the last week of October for elementary and middle school students. High school students will continue to learn remotely through the fall semester.— Rafael Guerrero

OPRF High School opts for 100% remote learning; Oak Park elementary and middle schools will start with remote learning

When students “return” to Oak Park and River Forest High School next month, they will again be engaged in virtual learning. However, administrators are promising a much different curriculum this time around.

“We know people are looking at how remote learning was in the spring when we were thrust into that,” superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said. “We learned from that and this is an entirely different plan. The remote instruction we propose for this fall will be very different from the spring experience.”

After initially planning a hybrid learning model, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 administrators now say its schools will begin the 2020-21 year with full remote learning courses for its students. — Steve Schering

River Forest District 90 board OKs in-class, hybrid and remote options

Students in River Forest District 90 will have several options for learning when the district’s two elementary schools and middle school start the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 27.

The board of education approved a plan Monday, July 27 that would have pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students in class five days a week and fifth through eighth-grade students in class on alternate days or weeks. All families would also have the option for their children to attend on a 100 percent remote basis. — Rachel K. Hindery

Plainfield District 202 to start with remote learning after teachers rally

At Plainfield School District 202, students will start the school year on Aug. 31 with remote learning, but could return to in-person learning later this fall if COVID-19 conditions allow, officials said.

Just days after hundreds of District 202 teachers gathered at the district’s headquarters, advocating for remote learning, the school board voted 4-2 to approve a slightly amended version of the administration’s “Return ’20” proposed plan to reopen schools this fall. — Karen Ann Cullotta

In reversal, Evanston high school students will not attend fall classes in person

Students in Evanston Township High School District 202 will continue e-learning this fall and will not participate in a hybrid in-person/remote-learning plan as originally announced.

“Beginning Monday, August 17, all ETHS students will participate in enhanced e-learning until further notice,” reads a statement posted today on the District 202 website announcing the 2020 fall reopening plan.

ETHS will transition to a hybrid model that includes in-person instruction only “if conditions permit,” the statement reads. — Genevieve Bookwalter

Lake Forest High School likely to adopt hybrid model for classes; Lake Bluff schools to offer options

Students in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff will be returning to school buildings this fall, at least for some of the week, following recent actions by two local districts.

The Lake Forest High School board rejected its administration’s recommendation to exclusively use remote learning for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. Meanwhile, Lake Bluff elementary schools are set to reopen with an option for remote learning. — Daniel I. Dorfman

Highland Park, Deerfield high school students going back to class remotely

Township High School District 113 board members approved a plan Monday that calls for starting the new academic year off with remote learning and leaves the possibility for some in-person opportunities later in the year.

The new school year starts Aug. 17 for the district’s two schools, Deerfield and Highland Park high schools. — Alicia Fabbre

Glenbrook North and South to start year virtually, teachers encouraged to instruct from classrooms

Students at Glenbrook high schools will begin the year virtually, according to a four-step plan approved by the District 225 Board of Education.

The approved plan includes phased steps to bring students back in person, but students will begin the year Aug. 19 with a continuation of e-learning. — Kaitlin Edquist

Glenview, Northbrook schools solidify start-of-year plans, but those could change: ‘There isn’t a perfect model out there’

After months of anticipation and discussion, school officials in Glenview and Northbrook have laid out official plans for the start of the upcoming school year.

Glenview District 34 will begin the year with a plan similar to that of the local high schools — remote learning with phased steps to eventually bring students back.

Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 officials will begin the school year Aug. 20 with a mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual methods.

Northbrook District 27 will start the school year Aug. 20 in the same way as District 30, with younger kids attending in person daily and older kids attending on a staggered hybrid schedule.

Northbrook District 28 is offering options to commit to either in-person or remote instruction through winter break.

West Northfield District 31 will reopen schools Aug. 24 for daily in-person instruction, but only if staffing concerns can be addressed quickly. — Kaitlin Edquist

D300 drops in-person back-to-school plan in favor of e-learning schedule

Algonquin-based School District 300 has abandoned plans to have students return to in-person classes and will require all of its 21,000 students to spend the first nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year doing remote learning from home. — Rafael Guerrero

Hinsdale District 86 back-to-school options: hybrid schedule or all online

Hinsdale High School District 86 is offering most families two options for the start of school in August: Attend school in person two days a week and online the rest of the days or do all online learning.

The District 86 School Board unanimously approved a hybrid plan in which the students are divided into two groups. For the start of the school year Aug. 17, each group will attend all their classes at school two days a week. The classes periods will be 38 minutes long and run from 8 a.m. to about 1 p.m. — Kimberly Fornek

Lyons Township High School considering all-remote or blended plans

Lyons Township High School officials plan to decide their back-to-school plan by July 31, the superintendent said.

The district is considering two options to start the 2020-21 school year, a combination of in-person and online instruction or entirely online lessons. — Kimberly Fornek

Stevenson High School to start new academic year with remote learning each day

Stevenson High School District 125 officials announced students will be remote for the first part of the upcoming school year.

District officials also said they felt that remote learning, which will take place in live time five days each week, offers better instruction for students than the other option that they seriously considered: a blended learning concept. — Bob Goldsborough

Barrington school district, calling its previous plan ‘not attainable,’ will start fall with all-remote learning

After announcing earlier this month that the new school year would start in-person with an option for remote learning, Barrington School District 220 officials revised that and said it will now be all virtual. — Graydon Megan

High school students can attend class in person or remotely in Arlington Heights-based District 214

Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 has come up with a plan for starting the new school year that includes special scheduling, addressing technology issues and offering parents a choice to have their children attend in-person or remotely.

In a news release school district officials issued, SD214 will implement a block schedule and technology solutions “that allow for flexibility and parental choice” to have students attend classes in-person or remotely each day. — Pioneer Press

Elementary and middle schools in Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, and Wheeling to begin year with remote learning

Mount Prospect School District 57 will resume remote learning when classes begin Aug. 20 and plans to implement a hybrid plan in October.

Arlington Heights School District 25 will start with remote learning and plans to transition to a hybrid instruction model later in the school year.

Wheeling Community Consolidated School District 21 revised its back-to-school plan and will begin the year with remote learning.

Availability of teachers and staff will affect Elmhurst District 205 back-to-school plan

Elmhurst School District 205 officials say families want their children back in school, but whether that will happen in August depends not only on the coronavirus cases at that time, but on whether enough teachers agree to work in the schools.

In mid-July, the District 205 staff announced a plan to have the children in its eight elementary schools and early childhood center return to school full-time for in-person instruction, with new safety protocols.

On July 20, Max Schoenberg, the president of the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council, which is the teachers union, wrote a letter to the District 205 School Board and administrators, recommending that all the schools begin the school year with online instruction only. — Kimberly Fornek

Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 offers either a two-day classroom option or full remote learning

Though many factors could still change before or during the fall semester due to the pandemic, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 plans to offer students a hybrid education option — two days of in-classroom learning and three days of remote, online learning — or a five-day remote learning option. — Jennifer Johnson

East Maine School District 63 looks to begin new year with online learning

A plan that calls for the new school year to begin with online learning is set to return to the East Maine School District 63 Board of Education for a vote in August. — Jennifer Johnson

Parents prompt North Chicago officials to start school year with at-home instruction

Plans to open North Chicago School District 187's schools with children in the classrooms two days a week changed to a virtual plan within 48 hours last week when Superintendent John Price received a strong message from district families.

The district’s six schools will start the 2020-2021 school year Aug. 20 with children from preschool through high school learning virtually at home or in other locations through computer screens because an overwhelming number of parents prefer it that way. — Steve Sadin

Zion-Benton locks in nine more weeks of remote learning

Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 will implement an “interactive remote learning plan” this fall.

The district’s learning plan relies on the remote delivery of instruction via Chromebooks, at least for the first quarter (or nine weeks) of the 2020-2021 academic year. — Lauren Coughlin

Warren Township High School to start year with remote learning

Warren Township High School students start school Aug. 17, but will be learning remotely through computer screens until at least Oct. 2 when they may start spending one day a week at the Almond and O’Plaine Road campuses in Gurnee.

The Warren Township High School District 121 Board of Education unanimously approved a plan for the 2020-21 school year at a virtual meeting Tuesday which both brings children into the classroom and offers a remote plan for families who elect it. — Steve Sadin

District 117 plans to rotate students between in-person classes and remote learning

Community High School District 117 is currently planning on opening its doors to students — but only one-third of them at a time.

Students at Antioch Community High School and Lakes Community High School will be broken into three groups — A, B and C — and rotate in and out of school, so within a three-week period students will have one week of in-person learning and two weeks of remote learning. — Erin Yarnall

Lake Zurich district offering hybrid, full-remote options

Lake Zurich School District 95 is letting parents choose between a hybrid model with some in-person learning and full-time remote learning.

Hybrid and fully remote learning options in Glenbard District 87, but a full-remote start

Glenbard Township High School District 87 is starting with remote learning in August before implementing a hybrid plan, with students receiving in-person instruction twice a week. Families can also opt for full-time remote learning.

New Trier officials anticipate hybrid approach

At New Trier High School, which enrolls roughly 4,000 students at campuses in Winnetka and Northfield, officials said they anticipate using a hybrid approach that embraces both on-campus and remote learning for the fall.

“We plan to ‘start smart’ with a gradual return to school for teachers and students to get used to new safety protocols and a new way of teaching and learning,” New Trier Superintendent Paul Sally said in a recent letter to parents. ? Karen Ann Cullotta

Niles High School District 219 plans to blend online and in-person learning

Niles Township High School District 219 schools are planning to reopen with remote learning on Aug. 17 and phase students back into buildings after Labor Day.

On July 8, the Board of Education approved a plan to transition students back to school for the 2020-21 school year that gives administrators latitude to develop a model that blends in-person and online instruction.

District 219 is considering providing a staggered school schedule for students after Labor Day, but has not finalized it, Board President David Ko said. — Phil Rockrohr

Buffalo Grove-based school district will start fully remote

Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 will be starting fully remote for the first six weeks of the school year, revisiting that plan Oct. 5. — Elizabeth Owens-Schiele

Lincolnshire District 103 gives parents option of daily in-person or remote learning

Parents of elementary and middle school students enrolled in Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 must notify the school district if they will have their children to attend school next academic year in-person or remotely.

Superintendent Scott Warren said he needs parents to commit to their decision until January in order to determine staffing for the year.

Full-day, in-person learning would be offered five days a week, with times varying depending on the student’s grade. Remote learning would require daily attendance five days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., district officials explained. — Elizabeth Owens-Schiele

In Oswego-based School District 308, parents have a choice

Oswego-based School District 308 parents will have a choice of sending their children back to school for in-person learning this fall, or continuing with remote learning.

Elementary and junior high students will have face-to-face learning five days a week with shortened attendance times. High school students will have in-person learning two or three days per week with normal attendance times. — Linda Girardi

Joliet elementary and middle schools offering hybrid, all-remote options

Joliet Public Schools District 86 is letting families choose between a hybrid plan, in which students would receive in-person instruction one or two days a week, and a fully remote learning plan.

Brookfield-La Grange Park elementary and middle schools offer blended, all-remote learning models

Students in Brookfield-La Grange Park School District 95 will attend school in person in either morning or afternoon blocks as part of a blended model, according to the district’s website. Parents can also opt out for fully remote learning.

North Shore School District 112 letting families choose between hybrid and all-remote learning plans

Parents and guardians of children enrolled in North Shore School District 112 have until July 29 to choose whether the students will receive all-remote instruction or attend class in person part-day and remote the rest, district officials announced.

Once a choice is made, families will have to commit to it through Nov. 6 for kids in grades sixth through eighth and Nov. 20 for kindergarten through fifth graders, district officials said. — Steve Sadin

East Leyden, West Leyden students to start with remote learning

Students at Leyden High School District 212 will begin the new school year on Aug. 17 learning from home, but the district hopes to return to in-person learning at a reduced capacity when it is safe to do so, officials said. — Anna Kim

Franklin Park School D84 plans to partially reopen, with remote learning for half the week

Franklin Park School District 84 plans to partially reopen schools for in-person classes in August, following a hybrid model in which students also will learn remotely part of the school week.

Most students will attend school two days a week and learn remotely for the other three days. Kindergartners, first-graders and students in the first and second English-language-learner levels will all attend four days a week, as will students in special education.

The Park District of Franklin Park is offering a way children can do remote learning in a supervised environment. — Anna Kim

Both River Grove school districts starting remote learning in August

Students at both River Grove elementary school districts will be learning remotely at the start of the school year, each district decided. — Anna Kim

Wauconda schools to start fully remote

Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 will begin the academic year with full remote learning for all students.

St. Charles school plans vary by grade level

St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 is planning to reopen elementary schools for daily in-person instruction, while middle and high school students will have a blend of in-person and remote learning.

For more information, visit the district’s website.

Elmwood Park schools leader expects remote learning to continue

Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401 administrators demonstrated the options for remote and in-person learning for the Board of Education on July 15.

Outgoing superintendent Nicolas Wade, whose last day is July 31, didn’t express hope for a return to in-person learning.

The district expects to decide which way it will go by a special board meeting the first week of August, said Leah Gauthier, incoming superintendent, who will start Aug. 1. Wade said parents should expect e-learning through September. ? Anna Kim

Maine Township high schools propose mix of virtual and in-classroom learning

A plan that would combine in-school learning with a virtual at-home education is under development by Maine Township High School District 207 officials for the upcoming school year as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic linger.

District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace said the plan, which is not yet finalized, will call for a majority of students to alternate between in-classroom instruction on some days and at-home online learning on other days. It is expected that approximately 40% of each school’s student population will be in the buildings on a given day, Wallace said.

Parents will, however, have the option of not sending their children to school for in-classroom instruction, allowing for all learning to take place virtually, Wallace said.

“We committed to parents back in May that in the event you, as a parent, tell me, ‘I’m not sending my child to school until there is vaccine,’ then I’m going to honor that,” the superintendent said. — Jennifer Johnson

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