Some Wauconda District 118 students will return to school buildings this fall
Some Wauconda Unit School District 118 will return to campuses part-time this fall, but others will be taught entirely remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation.
Parents had until Friday to select one of those two options for the 2020-21 school year.
About 4,600 students are expected to be enrolled at the district's six schools. Between 25% and 30% of students have been signed up for remote learning, Superintendent Daniel Coles said Monday.
"That's about what we expected," Coles said.
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.
Under District 118's hybrid plan, students will be on campus two days each week and work remotely the other three days.
Students whose last names begin with A through K will be on campus Mondays and Tuesdays. Those whose last names begin with L through Z will be on campus Thursdays and Fridays. All students will be taught remotely on Wednesdays.
Parents of students who are living in blended households and have different last names should contact principals to ensure attendance continuity.
Splitting students into two groups means about half the district's total student population will be on campus on days in-person education is offered, officials said.
As is the case in other districts reopening buildings, District 118 has instituted new safety protocols. For example:
-- Students must wear cloth masks on buses and in schools. Students will be issued two cloth masks, and disposable masks will be available if needed.
-- Parents will have to check their kids for fever or other COVID-19 symptoms each morning, and temperature checks may be made at school.
-- Sharing educational materials will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
-- Students will eat lunch in classrooms and other designated spaces in addition to the cafeteria to ensure no more than 50 people occupy any space at a time.
Some students in need of more in-person education may be selected to attend school four days a week. Parents of qualifying students will be contacted by administrators.
Additionally, four days of in-person education may be possible if the number of students who sign up for fully remote learning is higher than anticipated at certain grade levels, officials said.
For students participating in the all-remote learning model, classes will be online and self-paced. They will view recorded lessons but may interact with teachers and other students via online chats. They also will be tested and graded, unlike during the spring remote-learning experience, officials said.
Regardless of which model they're following, all students will be issued Chromebook laptop computers so they can participate in remote learning.
Classes will begin Aug. 17, a few days later than originally scheduled so teachers can prepare. But Coles also noted plans may change rapidly based on the status of the pandemic or other factors.
"The landscape is changing every day," he said.
A guidebook for the 2020-21 school year is available at d118.org.