Wauconda District 118 changes course, to go with remote learning

  • All students at Wauconda High School, shown here, and at other District 118 campuses will be taught remotely when the 2020-21 term begins later this month.

    All students at Wauconda High School, shown here, and at other District 118 campuses will be taught remotely when the 2020-21 term begins later this month. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 7/31/2020 10:39 AM

Changing an earlier decision, Wauconda Unit School District 118 officials have announced all students will start the 2020-21 term with remote learning because of the continued COVID-19 crisis.

Parents were alerted of the shift in an email Thursday evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Previously, families had been told they could choose whether students would attend in-person school this fall or be taught entirely remotely. District 118 has roughly 4,600 enrolled at six schools.

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 now-scuttled hybrid plan, students would've been split into two groups that would be on campus twice a week and work remotely the other three days.

Between 25% and 30% of District 118 students were expected to do remote learning, Superintendent Daniel Coles said earlier this week.

Now they all will.

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Reopening the school buildings was delayed because some elements of the plan were overly burdensome or impossible to achieve, Superintendent Dan Coles said in the email.

For example, Coles said officials would be unable to keep students and employees six feet apart throughout the day.

Additionally, sending home students who exhibit symptoms of the virus and then quarantining them would exclude "large numbers" of students from classes, Coles said. That also would create a burden for parents, he said.

Mandatory quarantines would worsen an existing substitute teacher shortage in the state, too, he said.

All District 118 students will use district-owned laptop computers for remote learning.

Classes originally had been set to start Aug. 12, but that was delayed until Aug. 17 last week. As part of this latest change, the start of the school year will be delayed until Aug. 24, and the year will finish later, too.

Specific details about how the remote learning programs will work at each school -- including information about live lessons, grading and attendance -- are forthcoming, Coles said. Information about extracurricular activities and athletics is pending, too.

District 118 officials will reassess public health conditions to determine when the school buildings can reopen, Coles said.

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