District 200 has formed an advisory committee to provide input to the official steering committee tasked with transitioning Oak Park and River Forest High School from a full remote learning model to a hybrid model — a transition that could happen in the second semester, depending on the rate of COVID-19 spread in Cook County.
During a regular meeting of the school board on Oct. 22, D200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said the new committee has met twice already — on Oct. 15 and 20.
“The role of the advisory committee is not to tell us whether we come back in-person, hybrid or remote, but to help us address areas of concern, such as equity, staff and faculty training, teaching and technology, facilities and operations, and medical data and guidance,” said Pruitt-Adams, adding that the committee has approximately 48 members, including four OPRF students, four OPRF alums, seven former OPRF parents, 12 current OPRF parents, a project manager, a strategic planner, representatives from elementary school districts 90 and 97, and nine members of the medical profession.
The steering committee is different from the advisory group in that the former comprises 85 OPRF faculty, staff members, administrators and parents and has been meeting weekly since first convening in May. The advisory committee’s membership includes more community members.
Pruitt-Adams said the advisory committee is roughly half white and half minority, with one person of color from the medical profession.
“We were clear that equity has to permeate throughout and we were deliberate in trying to recruit a diverse group of committee members,” she said on Oct. 22.
D200 board member Gina Harris wanted to ensure that the students on the committee have an adequate voice in the planning process.
“I’m mindful of ensuring [students’] voices are heard in that space because they are quite the minority in that group,” Harris said during the board meeting.
Pruitt-Adams said her administration is working to get more students’ voices incorporated in the process. The students currently on the advisory committee suggested doing public service announcements for students and surveys to make sure more students are providing feedback.
Board President Sara Dixon Spivy lauded the volunteers who have been part of the committee process so far.
“I’ve been really impressed with the quality of conversations I have been privy to,” she said, adding that she’s been particularly impressed with the student volunteers who have been thinking about ensuring that the process is equitable.
Pruitt-Adams said the next advisory committee meeting is on Oct. 29. That meeting, she said, will be a dialogue with a subgroup of the committee’s medical experts.
“The goal is to have a focused, robust discussion around the following key questions: What specific threshold metrics should we use for moving from stage to stage? What type of testing program would really be useful — type of test and frequency? Are there any scenarios where less than 6 feet of social distancing would be safe?” Pruitt-Adams explained in her latest Monday Memo, a document updating the district’s pandemic progress that she releases each week.
Administrators will present a final plan for transitioning from full remote learning to a hybrid model to the D200 school board for approval on Dec. 3, according to a Monday Memo Pruitt-Adams released on Oct. 19.
Readers can watch the committee meetings and access the full list of the committee’s members at oprfhs.org.