Indian Prairie District 204 to continue with remote learning through Thanksgiving break

With COVID-19 cases rising substantially in the suburbs, Indian Prairie Unit District 204 is again delaying its plan to start bringing students back to the classroom.

The district had been preparing to move from an e-learning format to a hybrid model at the beginning of this month, but a recent surge in the number of positive tests prompted officials to delay the plan until Friday.

Now as coronavirus metrics in the Naperville and Aurora areas continue to trend in the wrong direction, Superintendent Adrian Talley announced Tuesday the district will continue with remote learning until after Thanksgiving break, which ends Nov. 27.

District 204 also is postponing its basketball season, with hopes of starting it later in the academic year "when it is safe to do so," Talley said in a letter to the community.

The Illinois High School Association board recently announced basketball could be held as a winter sport, despite a conflicting message from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The lack of cohesive guidance is disappointing, said Talley, who has been in discussions with the district's attorney, insurance company and other superintendents in the DuPage Valley Conference.

"All are in agreement that due to liability concerns, we will postpone basketball at this time," he said, noting student-athletes will be notified soon of additional opportunities "to progress and sharpen their skills."

DuPage County Health Department data shows a weekly infection rate of 312 new cases per 100,000 people, up from 152 two weeks ago. The rate in Will County increased from 179 to 332 new cases per 100,000 residents in the same period, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Youth cases also have increased in both counties, remaining at a "substantial" level of community transmission. The area must move from a "substantial" to a "moderate" transmission level for two consecutive weeks before the district moves to hybrid learning, Talley said.

During a school board meeting Monday, district officials explained how social-emotional skills and mental health resources are being incorporated into the remote learning model at all grade levels. Despite concerns expressed by some parents and community members, Talley said, teachers, administrators and other staff members have been trained and are implementing strategies districtwide to address the needs of students through the pandemic.

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