Two-day-a-week, in-person schedule starts next month in District 59
Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 parents have until Monday to decide if they want their children to come to school at least two days a week as part of a transition to an anticipated hybrid schedule or to remain at home for remote learning.
But any in-person learning is still a month away, district officials said.
The proposed move to a hybrid schedule as soon as Monday, Nov. 5, is consistent with the district's back-to-school plan, adopted by the school board in August, that called for virtual learning to remain in place at least through October.
COVID-19 health metrics in communities served by District 59 have officials moving into Step 3 of their five-stage plan, in which students will be able to attend in-person classes four hours a day, two days a week.
For families that so choose, one group of students will come to school Monday and Tuesday mornings, while another group will livestream from home. The groups will change places Thursday and Friday mornings. All students will learn remotely on Wednesdays, and all afternoons call for learning activities on their own.
As part of the online registration process that ends Monday, families can choose to remain with full remote learning. If they don't update their preferences, selections will default to remote. For details, visit www.ccsd59.org/covid19/.
A test-run of the hybrid system could begin as soon as Oct. 26. Kindergarten and grades 1 and 6 would return Nov. 5; grades 2, 3 and 7 on Nov. 16; and grades 4, 5 and 8 on Nov. 23, according to the district's preliminary schedule.
District officials said while imperfect, the latest plan will allow for an eventual transition to their goal of in-person instruction five days a week, once health metrics allow.
"We want our kids back in school. Our board, staff and leadership teams want our kids back in school," Superintendent Art Fessler said at this week's school board meeting. "But we want to make sure we're doing this safely and responsibly."
Board member Kris Garlewicz pushed for a quicker transition to the next step in the district's reopening plan, which would have students in schools four days a week.
Other board members sought a school day longer than four hours. One major hurdle, administrators said, is handling lunch periods and ensuring six feet of social distance in lunchrooms and other spaces. Even with rushed lunch periods, students in some schools would be eating as early as 9 a.m. and as late as 2 p.m., officials said.
For now, students will be able to take grab-and-go meals home and might get a snack during the school day.