Guidelines and Protocols for the upcoming school year.
Return to Learn Reopening Guidelines 2020-2021
Aim: To safely open schools including extracurricular activities for the 2020-2021 school year and respond accordingly during the year.
• We believe that teachers are our most valuable asset to increase student’s educational outcomes and in-person instruction is our goal if at all possible.
• All efforts shall be made to adhere to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Macon County Health Department guidelines to avoid cancelations or mandated closures.
• Health guidelines based on local data will be top of mind when making decisions to establish a safe learning environment for students, staff, and families.
Further, following the Illinois State Board of Education guidelines, taking into consideration the feedback received from surveyed parents and staff, and out of respect for the health and well-being of our students, teachers, administration, staff, and community, the following is our proposed plan for re-opening school in August. We understand these guidelines will not answer every question, and we must remain flexible to changes as they arise.
The Maroa-Forsyth CUSD #2 is adopting two main plans for the 2020-2021 school year with an option to add a third plan if mandated to do so by the State of Illinois. Both plans may be implemented throughout the school year based on the current context of Macon County health data, including COVID confirmed positive cases, presumptive positive cases, and our COVID positivity rate, and any statewide mandates to which the District may be subject, including but not limited to any Executive Orders of the Governor which may be in place at the time that meet the test of the legal court system process.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines will be taken into consideration when implementing all the plans which currently endorse appropriate PPE which includes face coverings, 50 or less in a group, 6 feet apart as much as possible, symptom/temperature screenings, and increased building and personal cleaning/disinfection schedules.
What follows are the main ideas of the two plans and the optional third plan. Please note that our kindergarten program will switch to a half day program and our HS graduation requirements will be modified for the 2020-21 school year for all plans.
Plan 1: In-Person with Parent Option for Remote Learning
Based on parent survey responses, the data makes it clear that our parents want choice if possible depending on COVID-19 data/family circumstances. We have been able to achieve a choice option for our In-Person Return to School plan that allows a parent to opt into a Remote Learning Option. Schools will run on a 2:03/2:13 dismissal schedule four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) with PPE being required (meeting the guidelines of the state/county health departments) as social distancing will be adhered to as much as possible, but given the size of our classrooms, desks are not guaranteed to be spaced 6 feet apart. At this time, masks are required for all. Wednesdays will be Remote Learning for ALL students to give our staff the time needed to plan for the Remote Learning Parent Choice option. Staff will be available that day to touch base with students and facilitate questions, but no new material will be taught on Wednesday. A parent certified approval process indicating the choice for which option families choose will be put in place. Tentative announcement of this plan is set for Friday, July 24 pending completed new guidelines developed for Remote Learning. Parents will have one week to make their decision so that tentatively by July 31, 2020 the district has a baseline number on how many will be doing Remote Learning. Parents must make a commitment for one semester (half the year). There could be unique circumstances that has a student going from In-Person to Remote, but Remote to In-Person will not be allowed. These timelines could change.
Plan 2: Remote Learning for ALL
Flexibility is the key to Plan 2 as schools must be prepared to switch to Remote for All on a daily basis. If a COVID outbreak occurs within Macon County and/or if our school district has confirmed cases, and we are required to close our buildings for a set amount of time working with local health officials, we will automatically shift to the Remote Learning for ALL plan until we can resume our InPerson Plan 1. Whether parents choose Remote Learning in Plan 1 or all students are in Remote Learning in Plan 2, Remote Learning expectations for all will be different than the spring. Parent and staff survey data made it clear that there needs to be more accountability and consistency with Remote Learning. While this Executive Summary does not address the details of the new Remote Learning plan, our team is working on: grading expectations for all remote learning; monitored daily attendance; consistent technology platforms; family and staff access to Chromebooks/Hotspots; and specific expectations for our teaching staff, parents, and students.
Plan 3: Blended In-Person & Remote Learning at 50% Capacity Students
It was clear from parent and staff survey data that this option was not desired. So, we have not put a plan together. However, the State of Illinois could possibly mandate this plan. If this were to happen we have put together some initial thoughts on the matter, but no specific plans. In short, student attendance for in person learning will be divided into two groups with a split schedule. Half of the students will have a Monday/Wednesday in school schedule and the other half will attend in person on Tuesday/Thursday. Friday will be Remote Learning for ALL in order to support our staff for the combination planning they will have to do. The students are divided alphabetically with families within the same household running on the same schedule. On the split schedule, when students are attending in-person, they will be required to follow to health and safety protocols designated in prior scenarios for full capacity (meeting current state/local health guidelines). This schedule is not practical for our HS curriculum and scheduling. At the HS, we would likely develop a weekly schedule that is 80% Remote Learning and 20% In-Person (college style).