Most Lake Zurich 95 students have signed up for in-person classes this fall
About two-thirds of students in Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 will spend at least part of their time in classrooms this fall, according to district officials working to develop safety precautions before school begins.
The school board last week unanimously approved plans that give parents the option to choose either at-home learning or a hybrid of in-person and at-home learning.
Jean Malek, the district's director of communications, said about 32% of students overall selected full e-learning. Malek said 35% of elementary school students, 32% of middle school students and 28% of high school students will attend all classes electronically.
To allow time for school officials to create schedules, assign staffing and determine transportation routes, parents had until the end of July to decide.
"We need to formalize selections at this point," Malek said. "Parents are able to make a different choice for the next grading period."
Regardless of choice, e-learning classes are scheduled to begin for every student in the district on Aug. 24, with the beginning of in-person classes staggered by grade level. In-person start dates are: special education on Aug. 24, kindergarten through second grade on Sept. 8, third through sixth on Sept. 14, seventh through ninth on Sept. 28, and high school sophomores through seniors on Oct. 5.
In the time since the school board decided to offer a hybrid model, some of the biggest school districts in the state -- including Chicago Public Schools and U-46 -- have elected to conduct classes remotely. Nearby districts such as Barrington Area Unit District 220 and Round Lake Area Unit District 116 both will start the year with remote learning only.
Malek said this week that the district continues to seek and rely upon metrics and guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Lake County Health Department. If there is a need for further precautions, Malek said, the district might extend the initial e-learning period.
Safety protocols at district buildings will include mandating masks, limiting gatherings to 50 people, maintaining social distance and screening everyone who enters schools for COVID-19 symptoms, according to the district website. In addition, there will be enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.
Last month, health officials said 73 people had tested positive for COVID-19 as part of a Lake Zurich-area outbreak that led to the cancellation of sports camps at Lake Zurich High School in early July.
In the news release announcing the hybrid class model last week, district officials reminded members of the community that their actions -- from wearing masks to maintaining social distancing -- will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help make in-person classes possible.