D308 Presents Reopening Plans For Fall Amid Pandemic

OSWEGO, IL — The Oswego School District 308 is aiming to reopen schools Aug. 19 for the 2020-2021 school year. During its July 13 meeting, Associate Superintendent for Educational Services Faith Dahlquist presented the plan to the Board of Education, which gives students the choice to attend school in person or to engage in remote learning.

The district aims to follow Centers for Disease Control, American Association of Pediatrics and Illinois State Board of Education guidelines, and based on those, its priorities for learning options are:

  • Minimizing health risks for all students and staff.

  • Maximizing the time for in-person instruction.

  • Enabling families to have some choice in how to address the educational needs of their children.

A survey was sent to parents on June 27, seeking opinions regarding resuming in-person classes this fall. According to board documents:

  • About 88 percent of parents taking the survey wanted in-person learning for early childhood grade level.

  • 83 percent of elementary grade parents opted for in-person classes.

  • Almost 85 percent of junior high parents were in favor of students returning to school.

The district came up with a plan on the basis of the survey. However, Dahlquist told the board that the learning plans are subject to change, pursuant to public health guidance and changing public health conditions. Schools should also be prepared to return to distance learning if there is a resurgence of the virus later in the year.

Early Childhood

Students will participate in face-to-face instruction five days a week. Circle time may be run in two sessions and children will sit on spots or carpet squares that are spaced for social distancing. Sand and water tables will not be accessible. Writing and art materials will be provided as individual kits for each child. The class periods will be decreased by 15 minutes.

For physical education, classes will be held outside when the weather permits and no more than 50 students will be allowed to participate in each session. To help students socially distance inside the classroom, desks will be facing in the same direction with space between each individual desk. All extra furniture and items will be removed from the classrooms to create more space.

Elementary

Students will attend classes in person five days a week and instructions for art, music, library etc. will be shortened and provided in the general education classroom to limit the number of transitions. The school day will be shorter from 9:10 a.m. to 3 :10 p.m. Students will also have assigned seats.

Multiple spaces will be designated for lunch spaces. Each student will be assigned to a specific table/seat and the maximum number of people will not exceed 50.

Junior High

Students will participate in all six of their courses over a two-day period. On each day they will attend three of their courses. Physical Education will be a remote learning course for all students in Junior High and school day will be shortened from 8:20 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.

Students will receive grab-and-go lunches to take home at the end of the day. Students will not have access to a locker. All students will be in attendance for special education and supports will be provided for students per the IEP.

High School

Students will participate in at least two days per week of off-site instruction and two days per week of remote learning. The off-site learning will include instructional elements such as lesson videos (through Google Classroom or Edgenuity), assignments, or projects.

Four spaces will be designated as lunch spaces. Each student will be assigned to a certain lunch space. Seven lunches will occur throughout the day and grab-and-go lunch stations will need to be available in each space.

Students will not change for physical education and nor will they have access to a PE locker. Classes combined in one space will be less than 50 students. No contact sports will be allowed.

Remote Learning

For those opting to learn virtually, kindergarten remote learning will only be half day and will focus on ELA (reading and writing) and math only. Junior High Students will be assigned four core classes (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies) via Edgenuity. High School Students will select a minimum of six courses (maximum of 7 courses – anything over seven courses will carry a fee of $225 per course per semester) in Edgenuity.

The average student will have 4-5 hours of combined learning activities and instruction. Assessments will happen as they would in the typical school year. Remote learning students will be assigned to a district remote learning teacher. They will be given daily assignments that they must respond to online.

Face Coverings

The district said that all individuals in schools must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times while in the buildings and on school buses, even when maintaining social distance. Face coverings will not be required on school property outside the buildings if individuals are able to remain 6 feet apart from each other.

Face coverings can be removed for limited periods of time as necessary for a student to eat/drink, or to play a musical instrument.

For more details on the proposed plan, visit here.

On July 15, a choice form and explanation of options, in video form, will be sent to parents along with a link to submit questions. A choice between in-person or remote education is due to the district by 4 p.m. on July 22.

If parents or students do not announce their choice to the district by that time, district administrators will assume that students will be participating in in-person instruction.

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This article originally appeared on the Oswego Patch

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