District 303 moving ahead with five days a week of in-person learning
More than 3,000 St. Charles Unit District 303 students want to return to in-person learning five days a week, according to the results of a survey the district recently sent to students and their families.
District 303 middle school and high school students are set to return to in-person learning five days a week starting April 5, after spring break. The change is taking place as a result of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education recently releasing revised public health guidance for schools.
Social distance for in-person learning is now defined as 3 to 6 feet for students and fully vaccinated staff.
"Maintaining 6 feet remains the safest distance, but schools can operate at no less than 3 feet in order to provide in-person learning," stated the Illinois State Board of Education. "Unvaccinated staff should maintain 6 feet social distance as much as possible because adults remain more susceptible to infection than children. Strict adherence to social distancing must be maintained when face masks are removed in limited situations and monitored by school staff."
In District 303, elementary school students are doing in-person learning, while middle and high school students have a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. Those middle school and high school students who are currently doing hybrid learning will have the option of returning to in-person learning five days a week after spring break.
Of the 3,828 students who have responded to the survey, 3,717 of them have said they would like to remain in person, Superintendent Jason Pearson told school board members at the school board's Business Services Committee meeting on Monday.
Also, 111 of them decided to switch to remote, he said. Of that number, 100 of them are high school students and 11 are middle school students.
The district is still waiting on about 800 students who haven't responded yet to the survey.
"We've been calling and sending additional emails to try and get a final response," Pearson said.
Later this week, parents will receive additional information about the schedule, transportation and food service related to the change.
"There's some small changes to all three of those just due to the fact that now students will be attending every day instead of every other day," Pearson said.
The current bell schedule will continue. At the elementary level, there is no change because the school district has been offering in-person learning five days a week since the beginning of the school year.
"We are very excited about moving forward," Pearson said. "We are doing well in our schools related to the pandemic and the challenges of COVID-19. But at the same time, I just want to mention that our ability to increase in-person learning is tied to following our mitigation strategies at school and also with families and students following those same mitigation strategies within our community."
According to the district's COVID-19 dashboard, the district has 23 active COVID-19 cases, which are confirmed cases that have been reported in the last 14 days.
Pearson stressed that families and students need to continue to follow those guidelines.