Students in River Forest’s District 90 will be returning to school part-time this month, in a blended learning approach combining in-person teaching, remote-learning, and asynchronous online education. The plan was approved by the board of education earlier this week. An option to attend fully remotely is available to all students. Parents must opt-in to remote-only education by Oct. 13.

The return to school will begin in a phased-in approach by grade level, beginning on Oct. 21 for Kindergarten and PreK. The last group to begin back in the school is Group B of the 8th grade, which won’t start in-person until Nov. 6. The full schedule can be found on the district’s website at district90.org.

The phased-in approach allows teachers more time to work on the transition between remote-learning and in-person, and it will allow the district to see how procedures and safety protocols are working and adjust if needed.

“Blended” learning means the students won’t be in the school building full time, and schedules have been adjusted to combine in-person learning with additional remote education and supplemental asynchronous lessons and projects.

Morning kindergarten students will attend in person every day from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and afternoon from 12 to 2 p.m. Both groups will have remote specials afterward for viewing at home.

Students in grades 1-4 will attend school in person every day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., during which time students will receive general education instruction. After 12:30 p.m. dismissal, “specials” and asynchronous learning activities will be offered.

Students in grades 5 to 8 will attend school in-person twice a week in a split-density classroom. Students will be divided into A and B groups, about half the students in each group. While one group is in the classroom learning, the at-home group will be learning synchronously. No middle school students will be in-person on Wednesdays, but remote classes will be held.

The district has implemented and will continue to reevaluate and emphasize protocols to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and staff, including the requirement to wear masks at all times, mandatory temperature checks upon entering the schools, and improved air filters in the buildings.

Families who are more comfortable sticking with remote-only learning can do so by opting in using the form on the district’s website by Oct. 13, but once committed to remote-learning, families cannot switch to the blended plan until the end of the first semester on Jan. 21 unless the state moves into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan.

Additionally, the district won’t be able to honor requests made by families to switch into remote learning after the start of the blended learning for the child’s grade level without a doctor’s note.

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