U-46 launching distance learning plan while schools remain closed
Elgin Area School District U-46 students soon will be able to begin remote learning as the district unrolls its plan for maintaining education continuity while schools remain closed through April 8 during the coronavirus pandemic.
U-46 is not equipped to provide e-learning for its nearly 38,400 students. That's why officials have created a new distance learning plan in collaboration with teachers utilizing personal Chromebooks and available portable devices.
Roughly 26,000 one-to-one devices have been issued to students in fifth through 12th grades.
Administrators have pooled 5,800 communal devices from all school buildings. They will be available for pick up next week for families that need them, Superintendent Tony Sanders said.
"The households that do not have a child in grade fifth and up, we are trying to get them a device so their children can continue to learn," Sanders said. "There are so many teachers that are already engaging with their students from home, doing Zoom meetings (and) other types of learning."
The district recently purchased a learning management system for teachers allowing them to provide remote instruction, resources and lessons for students. It also allows for video conferencing. Teachers will be trained on how to use the system for distance learning.
"This is on top of systems that they are already utilizing to push lessons to students," Sanders said. "It's another platform teachers could use."
Teachers will decide just how much time students spend on distance learning.
District families also have been asked to engage their children in distance learning lessons offered by grade level on the district website, u-46.org.
"Our role is changing in this world right now," Sanders said. "Providing for continuity of education for our students is important, but providing food and care is our top priority."
U-46's commissary has prepared and distributed thousands of bags of food -- more than 76,000 meals -- to district families three days this week. Next week's distribution will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 26 sites. For pickup locations, visit u-46.org.