Last week, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 administrators unveiled their Return to School Plan — a 40-page document that is the district’s most detailed breakdown yet of how they’ll handle a switch from full-time remote learning to a hybrid model allowing students to go back to in-person learning on a limited basis.
And while Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 is still about a month away from unveiling its hybrid plan, D200 Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams launched a weekly Monday Memo last week, designed to keep families apprised of the district’s second-semester planning progress.
Earlier this month, elementary school administrators announced that they plan on moving to a hybrid learning model by Nov. 30, which is the start of the second trimester. The decision came as many parents in the district expressed dissatisfaction with what they felt was the district’s unresponsiveness and lack of a clear plan for moving away from full remote, although some other parents have praised the administration’s pandemic response.
Last Friday, D97 released its Return to School Plan, which offers a glimpse into what a limited return to classrooms might look like.
According to the plan, all families in the district will be able to choose between continuing full-time remote learning and transitioning to the hybrid learning model, which involves students attending schools onsite twice a week between Monday and Thursday.
Students will be assigned to two groups to reduce density on campuses.
Group A will be onsite on Monday and Tuesday, while Group B will be onsite Wednesday and Thursday. The two groups will alternate onsite learning on Fridays, with one attending one week and the other attending the next. When students are not onsite, they’ll receive remote instruction.
Elementary students, attending classes in person will be in the buildings from 8 to 11:30 a.m., finishing their instruction remotely from 1 to 3 p.m.
Middle school students will be onsite from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., finishing their days remotely from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
District administrators explained in the plan that they can’t guarantee families that students will keep their current teachers, class assignments and home schools once hybrid learning begins — regardless of whether the students continue with remote learning or switch to the hybrid model.
“District 97 will do its best to ensure that students have the same teacher(s) from their home school from the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, but as various circumstances and scenarios arise (including, but not limited to an analysis of the number of students who are opted into each model), it must be noted that it is possible that students will not have the same teacher or, in some cases, be assigned to the same school,” administrators stated in a condensed version of the plan available on the district’s website.
Community members can read the plan online at op97.org.
OPRF plans for 2nd
Earlier this month, D200 Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams launched her weekly Monday Memo to provide community members and Oak Park and River Forest High School students, staff, teachers and families with updates on the district’s planning for the 2020-21 school year.
Pruitt-Adams said that district’s steering committee has been meeting weekly “to create a hybrid plan that we hope to be able to implement sometime during second semester, so that students who wish to do so would be able to opt in to some level of onsite learning.”
The superintendent said that administrators will present a draft of the plan to the D200 school board at their meeting on Nov. 19, with a final plan scheduled for board approval on Dec. 3.
Pruitt-Adams said the steering committee is looking into implementing saliva testing for students once they return onsite. At a meeting in September, the committee heard a presentation from a scientist working with a school district in LaGrange on implementing saliva testing, she said.
“The surveillance testing does not diagnose cases of COVID-19, but it is an effective way to identify who may be infectious even if they have no symptoms,” Pruitt-Adams stated.