District 54 offers students choice between classroom, virtual learning

  • Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 officials Friday announced that students would be able to choose between in-person instruction and virtual learning during the 2020-21 school year.

      Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 officials Friday announced that students would be able to choose between in-person instruction and virtual learning during the 2020-21 school year. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2012

 
 
Updated 7/10/2020 6:04 PM

Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 will offer families a choice between in-person classroom instruction and virtual learning during the 2020-21 school year.

The district announced its instructional plan Friday and is giving parents until next Friday, July 17, to decide on an option for their children for at least the first trimester from Aug. 17 to Nov. 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Specific health-related issues may allow for some exceptions to be made, but District 54 is making its staffing plans based on how many students choose each option one trimester at a time, spokeswoman Terri McHugh said.

"We know that there's interest on both sides," McHugh said. "Our main priority is focusing on the health of our students and staff."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students physically return to the classroom, but it also said Friday decisions should be made by health experts and local leaders. District 54's reopening plan sets no limits on how many students may choose either option.

Students of all ages will be required to wear a face covering while inside the building, except when they're eating lunch. The district will work on individualized options for students with disabilities that may interfere with their ability to wear a face covering, McHugh said.

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Students eating lunch in their elementary school classrooms or junior high cafeterias will be socially distanced. Face coverings also may be removed for outdoor gym or recess as long as social distancing is observed.

All aspects of District 54's reopening plan are based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control.

The district is still assessing whether after-school activities, such as band and orchestra, will be available, McHugh said.

Teachers are also being offered the opportunity to request their selection for the district's virtual learning staff.

Reaction to District 54's announcement was largely positive on the Everything Schaumburg Facebook page Friday afternoon. But one person expressed disappoinment over the lack of a hybrid option breaking the week up between remote and classroom learning, while another was frustrated by the dilemma between sending kids into an environment she didn't feel comfortable with yet and the difficulty some parents face in staying home.

Some on the School District 54 - Uncensored Facebook page criticized what they felt was a lack of detail on maximum classroom sizes, while others stated that a week might be too soon for some families to make a decision. Others responded that more details were likely when the district knew how many students had chosen each option.

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