Lincolnshire-Prairie View District 103 classes to start remotely
In a change of back-to-school plans, all Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 students will start the new school year with remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Administrators had been planning to allow families to choose whether kids would be taught at home via computer or in-person every day at the district's three campuses. The district teaches preschoolers through eighth-graders.
But Superintendent Scott Warren has announced classes will be held online for at least four weeks when the 2020-21 term begins Aug. 25.
The change was needed, Warren said, because the state's recommendations for schools regarding social distancing during the pandemic changed. The state is mandating students stay 6 feet apart instead of 3 feet to 6 feet apart, he said.
"I understand this is a large and disappointing change for families who chose the in-person learning experience," Warren said in his announcement, which was emailed to parents and is available at d103.org/Page/404.
After four weeks, officials will review regional infection data, Warren said. They may then allow third- through eighth-graders to switch to a hybrid model that splits students into two groups that are in school two or three days a week and working from home the rest of the time.
Third- through fifth-graders are at Half Day School. Sixth- through eighth-graders are at Daniel Wright Junior High.
Laura B. Sprague School, which serves preschoolers through second-graders, would switch to daily in-person classes after that four-week threshold if it's safe to do so, Warren said.
The new plans don't affect families who already had chosen all-remote learning. About 52% of families had done so, Warren said.
The school board was expected to approve the change Tuesday night.
Nearly 1,800 students are enrolled in District 103.
The district's plans for remote learning are available at d103.org/Page/406. The approach will combine live lessons over videoconferencing and individual learning time with recorded lessons and other techniques.
Students will use school-issued iPads to complete work. Families with students who don't yet have those iPads will be notified how to get them.
District 103 officials will review the coronavirus spread data and positivity rate by Sept. 25, Warren said. If the data indicates the virus' spread is under control and trending lower, in-person education could begin as soon as Sept. 30, he said.
If the virus isn't under control, remote learning will continue and a new review date will be set, Warren said.
Dirk Leahy, a Vernon Hills resident whose two children are enrolled at Sprague School, was unhappy with the ruling.
"I think it's critical for the kids to be in school, at least at the lower level," Leahy said. "Especially sad is the (lack of) extra help our kids would get in school with reading and math."
Warren ended his email to parents by urging people to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart from each other and wash hands frequently.
"Our entire District 103 community needs to work together to create the best learning environment we can for our children," he said. "It will take all of our efforts to have a successful year."