District 47’s 3 Options For Reopening Schools

CRYSTAL LAKE, IL — Students are expected to return to school in the coming weeks, and District 47, like most school districts throughout the Chicago area, is still weighing its options on how to safely do that amid continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Denise Barr, director of communications and public engagement for District 47, told Patch that the District 47 Board of Education discussed the pros and cons as well as the logistics behind various instructional models during a July 7 meeting and is expected to vote on one of these three options during its July 20 meeting:

  • full-day, in-person instruction every day on Monday through Friday

  • half-day in-person instruction every day on Monday through Friday

  • full-day in-person instruction two to three days per week

IL Coronavirus Update: Daily New Cases Double Since Last Friday

But no matter what in-person instruction looks like, District 47 plans to offer some sort of revamped remote learning option for students and staff, according to Barr. The school board is also discussing how to follow health and safety protocols, including health screenings and requiring masks at school.

In recent weeks, District 47 sent out two separate surveys to parents. The results are in from the first survey, which was sent out in June and brought in more than 3,000 responses. Of those responding to the survey, 32.6 percent said their main concern for returning in the fall was the health and safety of family while 31.7 percent said they are concerned with establishing an academic routine.

Another 25 percent were worried about juggling work and children at home. The remaining 9.3 percent were mainly concerned with social-emotional issues and another 1.5 percent was worried about finding childcare, according to results from the June 2020 parent survey.

The district has sent out another survey to parents that is meant to be more targeted and to help the school board with decision-making, planning and logistics, according to an e-mail from District 47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz. Barr said the survey seeks feedback about parent’s preferences on instructional models and will help determine transportation and childcare needs. The survey will be open through July 15.

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Across the state, school districts have been scrambling to come up with plans to safely reopen schools in August. In recent weeks, the Illinois State Board of Education Illinois State Board of Education recommended schools fully reopen in fall but says each Illinois school district needs to craft a plan for safely reopening that best fits its students needs.

ISBE also urged school districts to make plans for online learning for those who may need it, including students who may have comprimised immune systems.

In addition, students will be required to wear masks at school.

This article originally appeared on the Crystal Lake-Cary Patch

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