What will classes look like for Mundelein High students this fall? A decision is pending
Mundelein High School officials are leaning toward offering a blend of in-person classes and at-home learning when the 2020-21 school year begins in August.
No decision has been made yet. And any plans that are implemented may change quickly based on the status of the COVID-19 in Illinois, officials said during a video conferencing session with interested community members Wednesday morning.
"Every option is on the table," said Michael Pope, assistant principal of student services.
In addition to Pope, District 120 Superintendent Kevin Myers, Principal Anthony Kroll and other administrators participated in the virtual meeting, which lasted nearly two hours and included many questions from audience members.
Classes at Mundelein High are scheduled to begin Aug. 13. About 2,000 teens are expected to be enrolled at the start of the term.
The Illinois State Board of Education has given school districts three options for the upcoming school year: in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of both.
Mundelein's current hybrid proposal would split students into at least two groups. Students in each group would attend in-person classes two or three days a week and do remote learning other days.
All students could start with remote education and transition to on-campus learning when evolving COVID-19 virus data indicate that's a safe option, said Stacey Gorman. assistant principal of teaching and learning.
A survey showed parents were satisfied with the school's remote education effort this spring, Gorman said.
However, when it comes to remote learning, many parents would prefer teachers lead lessons live online rather than use prerecorded videos, the survey showed.
But Pope said such synchronous lessons might be difficult for teachers who have their own kids to monitor at home, as well as for teens who must tend to younger siblings.
If teachers offer live lessons online, officials would have to determine how many classes are held per day and the lengths of those sessions, Gorman said. Classes lasting 30 to 40 minutes each are being considered.
Students who don't have reliable internet access at home would be provided Wi-Fi hot spots for remote learning sessions.
If on-campus classes were offered during the 2020-21 term, all students and employees would have to wear masks and be subjected to temperature checks upon arrival, Pope said, as well as daily questions about their health. Additionally, students would have assigned seating in all locations in case someone contracted the COVID-19 virus and contact tracing were needed.
Steps will be taken to ensure social distancing, too. For example, one-way signs already have been added to hallways, and desks will be moved as far apart as possible.
Additionally, plastic shields are being added to classrooms, hands-free soap and towel dispensers have been added to bathrooms, and lockers will be off limits.
Parents who are anxious about sending their teens back to school will be allowed to sign up for remote learning, Gorman said, as will teens who are especially susceptible to the virus because of health issues.
Parents whose email addresses are on file with the school soon will be sent a new survey about educational options during the pandemic.
Elsewhere, officials with Barrington Area Unit District 220, Lincolnshire-based Stevenson High School District 125 and Round Lake Area Unit District 116 are considering hybrid models. Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials reviewed their options Monday but didn't make a decision.