September 25th, 2020
A Message from Your Superintendent
At last night’s School Board meeting, we presented our plan for offering Fairview, Lions Park and Westbrook families a choice between full remote learning or a hybrid model, starting on Nov. 9 (as long as COVID-19 metrics are met). After asking questions and having an in-depth discussion, Board members approved the plan and directed us to move forward with implementation for our elementary students. We are now in the process of developing a hybrid plan for Lincoln, and we will update the Board at the Oct. 15 meeting. In preparation, we will send a survey to Lincoln families next Friday, Oct. 2, to solicit feedback about remote learning vs. an in-person hybrid option.
Today I am sending you the following:
- A link to the presentation slides that outline the hybrid option for elementary students.
- A link to a video of the entire School Board meeting, including the presentation of the plan.
- The following links to informational documents about hybrid and remote learning models at each of the elementary schools. We encourage families to read these prior to completing the enrollment survey for their child/ren.
Later today, Fairview, Lions Park and Westbrook parents and guardians will receive additional communication with a link to an enrollment survey. We are asking them to choose the hybrid or remote learning option by the end of Oct. 2. Families will also be able to make a request to stay with their current teacher, whether in hybrid or remote learning, although we cannot guarantee that we can meet all of these requests.
Here is an overview of our plan:
- Hybrid: We will offer the hybrid option starting on Nov. 9, as long as the metrics are within an acceptable range on Nov. 2. For those who transition to hybrid learning, there will be two cohorts – A and B – with A attending in person in the morning and taking part in remote learning in the afternoon, and B taking part in remote learning in the morning and attending in person in the afternoon. Students and staff will wear masks while in the buildings and maintain six feet of social distance. Core subjects will be taught while students are in person; social studies, science, PE, music, art, and LRC will take place during remote learning. We recommended the half-day hybrid model, as opposed to full-day, because it ensures that there are no mask-free times during the day (as students are not eating lunch at school). In addition, half-day hybrid is a model that the District can adequately staff. A full-day hybrid model with alternating days would require the hiring of additional staff, and District 57 does not have the budget to do this.
- Remote learning: Those who want to continue with remote learning can choose to do so. To fulfill families’ requests as we add the hybrid option, there will be some changes to this model, including altered start/end times, adjustments to the daily schedule, and the possibility of new teacher assignments.
- Metrics: We are using several metrics to ensure the safety and sustainability of a hybrid plan. The external metrics come from the Illinois and Cook County Departments of Public Health, Harvard Global Health Institute, and Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium. We also must look at internal safety and operations considerations, such as COVID clusters, staffing, and availability of PPE and disinfectant supplies. We will update the Board on current metrics at the Oct. 15 Board meeting. On Nov. 2, we will determine if the metrics are where we need them to be and let families know if we are able to start the hybrid transition on Nov. 9.
- Response protocols: As mandated by ISBE and IDPH, any individual who has been in close contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or has at least one symptom must quarantine for 10 days (or those with symptoms can be evaluated by a doctor, undergo COVID testing as directed by the doctor, and, if negative, return with a note stating COVID-19 status).
I thank everyone who has been engaged in this evolving process and those who have shared their input. The situation we are in is not ideal, but we’ve worked hard to develop a plan that we believe safely meets the needs, as much as possible, of those who are ready to return to the schools, as well as those who want to continue with remote learning. Elementary families, be sure to watch for the survey email later today. Lincoln families, we will have more information for you very soon.
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools