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Crystal Lake District 47 extends remote learning for an additional three weeks

Bernotas Middle School special education teacher Cathy Mattoon meets with her summer school class from home using Google Meet on June 12 in McHenry. "Kids are really rocking this," Mattoon said of the distance learning. About 15 children from kindergarten through eighth grade are registered for the Mattoon's summer school class.
Bernotas Middle School special education teacher Cathy Mattoon meets with her summer school class from home using Google Meet on June 12 in McHenry. "Kids are really rocking this," Mattoon said of the distance learning. About 15 children from kindergarten through eighth grade are registered for the Mattoon's summer school class.

Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47's school board approved extending remote learning for three additional weeks for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

Although the board initially approved remote learning for the first three weeks of the school year, until Sept. 11, it decided to lengthen this time period through at least Oct. 2, according to a news release. After that, students will either physically go to school for in-person instruction or remain in remote learning for the rest of the trimester.

Parents were asked to choose their learning preferences in late July. The first day of remote learning is set for Aug. 24.

“We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and to prioritize the overall health and safety of our students, staff and families,” board President Rob Fetzner said in a statement. “Extending remote learning at the beginning of the school year will allow time [without threat of quarantine] for educators and families to build relationships and acclimate to the new Remote Learning 2.0 plan. This is critically important should we need to move into a remote learning only mode at some point this year due to the current pandemic.” 

Students in all grade levels will have a consistent daily schedule, whether they are learning remotely or in-person, according to the district. Students will be required to attend school daily, with attendance recorded and reported to the state. Teachers will return to traditional grading practices.

The schedule for students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be 8 a.m. to noon and then 2 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. This "extra" hour from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. is intended for "enrichment, intervention, independent application, social-emotional learning or additional learning activities as assigned by teachers," according to the district.

Each core subject, the district said, will include "facetime" with the student's teacher.

The district will use the online platform Seesaw as the primary communication tool between teachers and parents, according to the release.

District 47's school board also discussed exploring other ideas for remote learning at the meeting, including a loaner desk program for families to create study spaces at home; virtual clubs for students; and partnerships with community organizations to provide supervision at school during remote learning for families in need. 

At its Sept. 21 meeting, the board is set to provide an update on the beginning of the year's start to remote learning, review current conditions and guidance, and discuss both the anticipated transition to in-person learning and potential continuation of remote learning, according to the release.

Parent communication and updates on District 47’s reopening plan can be found on the district's website at www.d47.org/covid19.

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