District 300 school board postpones vote on hybrid learning plan until Sept. 22

Students board the buses and head home at the end of the school day March 11 at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.
Students board the buses and head home at the end of the school day March 11 at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville.

Algonquin-based Community School District 300’s school board postponed a vote on what the district’s learning plan would look like for the second quarter to its meeting on Sept. 22.

District 300 schools have been conducting remote learning since the beginning of the year because of concerns about the number of COVID-19 cases locally

During a Tuesday school board meeting, Superintendent Fred Heid said the administration’s recommendation is that elementary, middle and high schools move into a hybrid schedule for the district’s second quarter, which begins Oct. 13.

Under this plan, schools would have half of their students on campus each day, while the other half would work remotely, and then switch groups the following day. Families still could choose a remote option if they wanted.

This hybrid plan now is possible because the district has good systems in place to mitigate and manage exposure events, additional personal protective equipment solutions have been sourced, and social distancing is attainable, Heid said. 

The board was set to vote on this plan during a special meeting Friday but decided to push back the vote to later in the month. 

Board President Anne Miller said they did not postpone the vote because they were disappointed in Heid’s plan, but rather, because there was a lot of work still going into the plan. 

Parents would be getting more information about it Friday, Miller said. 

“We’ve noticed there’s been some discussion, there’s been some debate and comments that have been surrounded around inaccurate information,” Miller said. 

Postponing the meeting will allow correct information about the plan to be shared and give district administration more time to work out some details, Miller said.

In a message to families posted on the district’s website, Miller said school board members have received numerous emails about the recent proposal to transition from a fully remote learning model to an option that brings students back to school.

Some people agreed with the proposal presented Tuesday, while others do not, Miller said, although most emails acknowledged the difficult decision the board faces. 

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Heid cautioned that although students might be able to be physically in the classroom under a hybrid schedule, the school environment still will look very different as extra safety precautions are taken. 

Masks will be required when students are physically in the classroom and social distancing will be required. Students will not use lockers and will not have dances, Heid said.

“What everyone needs to understand is reopening schools is not a return to normalcy,” Heid said. “You’re returning to a static, sterile environment. You are not returning to school as we know it and as we’ve come to love it in the past until things change.”

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