Update August 11, 2020
Update: August 7, 2020
Joint Letter from School Board, Administration & Association Leaders
Dear District 230 Students, Families, and Staff,
As was shared earlier this week, the District 230 Oversight Committee has been taking into consideration a number of factors as we plan for the safe start of the school year using the D230Proud Reopening Plan. The Oversight Committee has decided that due to the complexity of implementing this schedule, it will be best to begin the school year in Stage 1: Fully Remote instruction for all students until Monday, September 21, 2020, when we plan to implement Stage 2 with 25% of students onsite with the option for families to be fully remote.
We remain committed to the plan which is firmly focused on providing the best possible academic experience for students safely while adhering to the academic, health, and safety requirements set by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our staged approach allows for flexibility to meet the needs of our community.
The District 230 School Board, Administration, Teachers Association, and Educational Support Professionals (ESP) Association are committed to making this the best possible educational experience for students.
We understand that this is a change from how we anticipated starting the school year when the reopening plan was shared with the community on July 23. The Oversight Committee is taking a number of factors into consideration as it determines the best path forward. Key considerations in this decision include:
- First and foremost, we are committed to ensuring we can provide the best possible learning experience safely for students and staff.
- Students, families, and staff have expressed concerns that we must take into account, understanding full well that there are many varied opinions and concerns that we are attempting to address. The COVID-19 situation has been divisive among stakeholders here and in communities across the state and country. We are attempting to implement our plan in a manner that can bring us all together.
- The administration is closely watching COVID-19 numbers. Taking time to pause and watch the trends as school districts across the country return in session is a prudent approach. The September 21 date was chosen because it is 14-days after the Labor Day holiday and allows us to monitor the health numbers prior to students returning onsite.
- Extended lead time for supplies and materials that have been ordered but not yet delivered in quantities that will support having students onsite safely need to be taken into consideration.
- Staffing considerations including replacement of staff who have accessed federally available leave will take time to onboard.
- Ensuring a safe and efficient educational day for our students and teachers requires significant detailed planning regarding the operations, functions, and routines of the school day. As guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Department of Public Health have changed over the past several weeks and we anticipated updated guidance in the coming days, we need time to assure we are implementing the guidance with fidelity.
All Staff Will Be Onsite
Beginning on August 12 with Staff Institute and Planning Days and continuing through the September 21 move to Stage 2, all staff members will be onsite. Teachers will teach their classes from their classrooms where they have complete access to the technology and materials needed to instruct students who will be connected to the classroom through their Chromebooks. School Counselors, Social Workers, School Psychologists, Specialists and ESPs will be onsite supporting students and staff. Throughout this time, administration and staff will be able to work collaboratively to prepare for the return of students onsite on September 21.
Transitioning Back to School
The calendar that was presented in the Reopening Plan will be followed. Directions on how to access school remotely will be sent to families by their school.
- Wednesday, August 12 through Wednesday, August 19 - Staff Institute and Planning Days Onsite
- Thursday, August 20 - Freshmen and Transfer Students Orientation - details to be sent to families
- Friday, August 21 - Freshmen and Transfer Students Orientation - details to be sent to families
- Monday, August 24 - First Day for All Students Remotely - following the class schedule
Family Commitment Form
Closer to the September 21 return to onsite date, a new Commitment Form will be sent for families to select either Blended Onsite/Remote for Fully Remote. This will allow families to make informed choices for when we transition onsite.
Additional communication including specifics related to what the fully remote experience will look like will be sent to families early next week.
Robust Academic and Co-Curricular Experience
With academic guidance from the State that is significantly different from what we experienced in the spring, we can address the motivation and concerns expressed by students, families, and staff regarding attendance, grades, connectedness, and learning material that can be presented. Under the new guidance, we can implement the robust learning experience our students deserve and our community expects virtually that will meet the needs of all students without the restrictions that were identified as barriers in the spring. The School Board, Administration, Teachers Association, and ESP Association are committed to making this the best possible experience for all students. We will continue to implement programs that allow students to connect with each other, participate in co-curricular activities, and enjoy many of the aspects of high school that make it a memorable and rewarding experience. IHSA guidance for athletics and activities will be implemented. While school will be different, we promise that we will do everything we can to make it meaningful and fun!
Together, we are #D230Proud
As always, we appreciate our community’s commitment to our students, our staff, and our schools. The passion you share is truly a gift. We fully recognize that there is no decision that the Oversight Committee can make that will make every community member happy. However, the School Board, Administration, Teachers Association and ESP Association collectively are committed to implementing our plan that focuses keenly on providing the best possible learning experience safely for all students. The administration will continue to make decisions related to implementation of the D230 Proud Reopening Plan that best meet the needs of students. We ask for your continued patience and support.
Tony Serratore, School Board President
Dr. James M. Gay, Superintendent
Michelle Etchason, Teachers Association President
Deb Sandoval, ESP Association President
Update: August 4, 2020
Dear Students, Families, and Staff,
The District 230 Oversight Committee is committed to the D230Proud Reopening Plan which is firmly focused on providing the best possible academic experience for students while adhering to the academic, health, and safety requirements set by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our staged approach allows for flexibility to meet the needs of our community.
There are several factors that the Oversight Committee is taking into consideration.
- The Oversight Committee is reflecting on feedback received since presenting the plan to the School Board.
- We are assessing the most recent Cook County Department of Public Health guidelines.
- We are assessing staffing considerations related to the plan.
- We anticipate receiving updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health later this week that may impact the planning stages.
- We are integrating additional guidance provided by the Illinois State Board of Education on July 23, 2020, to assure we are fulfilling those requirements.
The D230Proud Reopening Plan is built to be flexible in addressing State, Region, and local factors. We are taking all of these factors into consideration as we determine the best path forward.
In light of this, the Oversight Committee has decided to postpone Virtual Parent Meetings that were originally scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, 2020. In light of this postponement, the deadline for the Parent Commitment to select Blended Onsite/Remote or Fully Remote has been extended until August 12.
As always, I appreciate our community’s investment in our school district, their compassion, flexibility, and passion for all of our students.
Dr. James M. Gay