Maine Township high schools start semester with remote learning, but in-person return set for Jan. 19
All Maine Township High School District 207 students started second semester Tuesday with remote learning because of the COVID-19 crisis.
After Jan. 19, however, students who want to resume in-person classes will be able to do so.
The format for such classes won't be the same at all three campuses, but officials with the Park Ridge-based district hope to eventually sync those operations.
"The plan is to do everything within our power to stay open and safely continue to expand in-person opportunities for our students during the semester," District 207 spokesman Brett Clark said.
During the year's first semester, District 207 offered hybrid programs that allowed students at Maine East, Maine West or Maine South to choose whether they wanted to attend classes in person or remotely.
The plan for second semester continues those options, Clark said.
The schools remained open safely because people followed rules for personal protective equipment, social distancing and hygiene, Clark said. Any positive COVID cases were traced to off-campus encounters, he said.
Second semester started with all at-home learning, though, as a safety precaution because so many students and employees traveled during winter break, Clark said.
The two-week break from in-person education allows students and employees to preventively quarantine at home. In an email to families, Superintendent Ken Wallace called it an "adaptive pause."
Starting Jan. 19, Mondays will be remote learning days for all 6,303 students.
At Maine East in Park Ridge and Maine West in Des Plaines, students will be able to attend classes in person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the morning and on Thursdays and Fridays in the afternoons.
At Maine South in Park Ridge, however, students choosing in-person learning will be split into two groups. One will attend school all day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the other group will attend school all day on Thursdays and Fridays.
On-campus lunches will be offered at Maine South.
Adding lunch periods at the other two schools is the next hurdle for officials to clear, Wallace said during Monday's school board meeting, which was held remotely because of the pandemic.
The plan is a starting point, Wallace said. Plans could change week to week.
"Our goal is going to be to grow where we can," Wallace said.
Regardless of which school a student attends, the amount of in-person learning offered each week will be the same, Wallace said.
Students receiving special education services in any of the schools will have more in-person options available, officials said.
District administrators know some teachers have had child-care issues because of the pandemic. They've been able to provide accommodations to help employees when needed, Clark said.