School District 58 students will start the new school year 2020-21 in a remote learning environment.
At a special meeting Aug. 18, the Board approved postponing onsite learning and approved moving to full remote learning for all students. Here is the Remote Learning Plan. The Board gave careful consideration to the plan and did not take its decision lightly. The administrative team and Board have been committed to in-person learning as that is the optimal way for students to achieve success. However, the decision to start Remote Learning came down to these key factors:
Safety. The District needs to adhere to the guidelines and guidance called for by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the DuPage County Health Department. Recent updates to these health guidelines caused several logistical challenges. Additionally, the guidance often contradicts other guidance which has resulted in a need for clarification from these agencies prior to moving forward with in-person instruction at this time. The District is actively seeking clarification and collaborating with the DuPage County Health Department, the DuPage County Regional Office of Education, and local districts in order to reopen schools.
An Overview of of the Guidance
- ISBE/IDPH Joint Transition Guidance
Released on June 23
ISBE FAQ on Joint Transition Guidance
- DuPage County Health Department
Released on July 8
- ISBE - Fall 2020 Learning Recommendations
Released on July 23
- CDC Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020
Released on July 23
FAQ for School Administrators on Reopening Schools
- IDPH FAQ for Schools
Released on August 12
- IDPH Adaptive Pause and Metrics: Interim School Guidance for Local Health Departments
Released on August 17
Staffing. Schools must have enough teachers, associates, nurses and health aides, building leaders, custodians, food service workers and bus drivers to ensure that students have a safe, consistent and positive learning environment. The new state direction lays out more restrictions on who is defined as a “close contact” and thus adds additional quarantine requirements for close contacts.
Absences. Due to how the state now defines “close contacts” as well as who needs to quarantine and isolate, the District anticipates many more teacher, staff and student absences and repeat absences.
Substitutes. The pool of substitute teachers, though robust, may not be able to effectively handle the increased absences that we will likely face with the more stringent requirements for isolation and quarantining of close contacts. The substitute pool of 170, though large, is not built for a pandemic. As a result, we will continue to promote the need for substitutes.
Space. The state’s new requirement suggests that schools leave an area or classroom vacant for as long as possible before cleaning if there is a suspected case of COVID-19. This could mean closing multiple classrooms down in a school on a daily basis, as well as the nurse’s office and quarantine room. In some buildings there just isn’t enough space.
- View the Board of Education presentation
- View the Remote Learing Plan
- View Dr. Kevin Russell’s Aug. 19, 2020 letter to families and staff (La escuela decide el aprendizaje a distancia)
Remote Learning will involve 2.5 hours of synchronous (live) instruction by a District 58 teacher and 2.5 hours of asynchronous learning. Asynchronous could mean independent work, a video lesson, group work, digital learning and others. There will be a regular daily and weekly schedule for staff and students, which will include asynchronous specials such as music, PE and art. Similar to school in-person, there will be structured times to start and end school and specific synchronous learning times.
Remote learning will look significantly different than it did in spring. There will be more teacher-led lessons via Zoom, additional feedback for students and teachers as well as assessments and grading. There will be more opportunities for student collaboration and small group instruction. There will also be a continued focus on the social emotional wellness of students and direct instruction related to that. Compared to last spring, the District will have more time to provide dedicated training and professional growth for teachers to deliver best practice instructional strategies in teaching remotely. The District is also working with teams of teachers and staff to develop a list of key standards and instructional topics in each content area for remote learning.
In grades K-6, the District will reduce class sizes to no more than 24 students to help improve the remote learning experience. To do this, the District anticipates that some certified staff would be reallocated to the classroom. Middle School classes will be structured similar to in-person learning.
Students in some specialized programs such as DLP, RISE and BEST, will have the option of receiving their special education services onsite. Receiving services in-person is critical for many children, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and others. Students in those programs will be contacted by their special education team about options.
Specials, like art, library, music and physical education lessons, will be taught asynchronously. Those groups of specialists will collaborate to develop consistent lessons and activities for students.
Remote learning day
The instructional day will be held between 8:15 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. for Grades 1-8. Students will meet five days a week on regular school days. (Here is the approved 2020-21 calendar). Preschool and kindergarten sessions will be 8:15-10:45 a.m. for the AM session and 12:00-2:30 p.m. for the PM session. Each school will develop a daily schedule that allows students, families and teachers to plan and structure their day. To the greatest extent possible, the remote learning schedule will mirror the onsite learning schedule. For students with extenuating circumstances whose situation does not allow them to follow this schedule and participate in synchronous learning activities, alternative learning options will be provided. Depending on the situation, the alternate learning options may include pre-recorded lessons by District 58 staff, or curated materials that align with the lesson objectives. Families and/or students who are unable to participate in scheduled learning activities due to extenuating circumstances should contact their building principal.
Transition Days: Meeting teachers
Because the District understands the importance of building relationships between teachers and students and among the classroom, the schools will hold Transition Days. Transition Days will be held Sept. 1-4 and will involve very small groups of students visiting with their teachers in person. This will allow not only a chance to build relationships but a chance for teachers to set expectations, build routines, teach lessons on how to access their digital classrooms, troubleshoot technology and provide other important lessons related to remote learning. Remote learning will also be included during Transition Days.
Transition Days will also allow the school to send physical materials such as workbooks home with students so that our instruction can remain a blend of digital and print materials. The students will attend in very small groups (typically no more than 8 students in a space), will wear masks and maintain strict 6-foot distancing.
For families who choose not to access these opportunities, a virtual option will be provided. Over the course of the four days (September 1-4), students in grades 1-6 will be able to attend in-person for two 2-hour periods, either between 9:00-11:00am or 1:00-3:00pm. Kindergarten students will also attend twice in-person during those windows of time in a slightly different format. Transportation will not be provided.
Transition Days - Self Certification
All students who visit District 58 schools during the Transition Day visits Sept. 1-4, as well as all visitors at all times, must adhere to the Illinois Department of Health guidelines for in-person learning. This means that students must wear an appropriate face covering as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, families must certify via a Google Form that they are free of any possible COVID-19 symptoms before entering the building. Schools will email families with a link to the self certification Google Form.
The self-certification process will require that families also take a temperature check of their child and certify the child has no symptoms and has not been in close contact with anyone who is positive on a Google Form. In addition, staff will take a contact-free temperature check of each student prior to entering the building.
While the guidance states that a school district does not have to take temperatures if a self-certification process is in place, District 58’s Health and Safety Sub-committee recommended that all students complete a self-certification and get their temperature checked by school personnel on a daily basis.
Certification will include verifying that your child does not exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- A temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher).
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Any other COVID-19 symptoms identified by the CDC or IDPH
Transition Days - Face coverings
District 58 has adopted a temporary rule that requires all individuals entering a school to wear a mask that completely covers their mouth and nose. Masks must adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Click here to read this temporary rule in full.
Students and staff may wear their own mask (so long as it meets CDC requirements). When students fully return to onsite instruction, the District will provide at least one cloth mask to each student and staff member. Additional masks will be available if a student does not have one.
While on school property during arrival and dismissal, everyone is asked to wear a mask regardless of being outside and/or meeting social distancing requirements.
Disposable masks that are snug and cover the mouth and nose can only be used once and must be thrown out at the end of the day.
Cloth masks must be washed after each use in accordance with CDC guidelines.
For staff, the wearing of an N95 or KN95 mask by staff will require a signed waiver as it may restrict oxygen levels for a wearer. This form is available upon request in the District’s Personnel Office.
In addition to a mask, students and staff will be permitted to wear a face shield or other PPE so long as it does not require approval from a physician and/or substantially disrupt the educational process.
During Transition Days, students will be given short lessons and participate in fun activities about how to wear a face covering, social distance and wash hands. Depending on the age and grade level, students may engage in class discussions about why face coverings, social distancing and hand washing help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Teachers will be purposeful about creating classroom routines to ease any embarrassment, discomfort, worry, or anxiety students may have about wearing masks. Some of our students may not walk in already accustomed to wearing masks, so routines and predictable structures can help them feel calm and ready to learn.
Here are some videos you can watch with your child about wearing face coverings:
Transition Days - Social Distancing
Social distancing has been identified as a key way to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing is defined as keeping space between yourself and others at a minimum of six feet. In District 58, the following procedures and protocols will be used to promote social distancing during Transition Day visits:
- Students will be directed to enter different entrances to the buildings during Transition Days.
- Students will adhere to social distancing requirements during arrival, dismissal, and all other parts of the Transition Day visits. At no time will students be permitted to stand or sit closer than 6 feet away from one another.
- Directional signage is installed for one-way paths in hallways.
- Students will be instructed about social distancing in an age-appropriate manner and given frequent reminders.
- Families and/or caregivers must adhere to social distancing on school property when dropping off and/or picking up students.
- School playgrounds and grounds will not be accessible to visitors (including but not limited to younger siblings).
If the student has a fever of 100.4 degrees (or greater) and/or is experiencing any COVID-19 symptom(s), they will not be permitted into the school building. There will be a separate quarantine area(s)/room(s) outside and in each building, allowing the student to safely wait for their parent/guardian to pick them up. If it is appropriate, students may also sit outside in a designated area with a staff member (adhering to social distancing) while they wait to be picked up.
Contract Tracing and Communication
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the District will work with the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) to identify all close contacts (as defined by IDPH), conduct contact tracing, and notify all close contacts by phone. Privacy will be maintained and no names will be shared during the contract tracing process. In addition, if a student or staff member tests positive, all school families will be contacted if there is a positive case within their child’s school (the grade level will be identified).
The District is committed to working with the DCHD and following all of its recommendations. In the event a positive case(s) is identified in a building, the District will follow the recommendation(s) as to whether the school should close, remain open or follow a different course of action. While there is no set number of positive cases that would determine when a school closes, the District will follow the recommendation(s) of the DCHD.
If a staff member or student has symptoms of illness or tests positive, the District will strictly follow the IDPH guidelines.
During transition days, we ask that families and staff be aware of any travel restrictions and/or quarantine requirements. Students and staff will not be permitted to enter a District 58 building if they are under a mandatory quarantine order from a physician, called for in the state guidance, or due to travel.
The following protocols will be followed by District 58 when a student or staff member tests positive or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This procedure will be updated as IDPH updates their guidance in connection with the CDC. For more detailed guidance, here is information from IDPH.
Students will be in remote learning through Oct. 2. No transitions will be made until after that time.
In the meantime, the District will obtain more clarity from the state, the Regional Office of Education, and its legal team on the most recent guidance and any new direction about in-person learning. When it is safe to do so, the goal is to implement the Modified Onsite learning plan and the Online Academy so students can attend school in-person after Oct. 2. While those are goals, the District also understands the changing landscape of this pandemic may alter that plan. The Board of Education will meet Sept. 28 and at that time, will review the guidance, the plan and any challenges to implementing it.
How will remote learning change from the spring?
The remote environment will improve upon our spring E-Learning program with greater accountability, assessments and grading, and synchronous teaching and learning. There also will be small-group, in-person opportunities Sept. 1-4 to build relationships and classroom connections in order to prepare for an optimal remote learning experience. In addition to Transition Days Sept. 1-4, remote learning will also occur.
Can students work independently?
We anticipate that the older students can work independently but younger students preK-2 will likely need some assistance. We plan for students to meet teachers in small groups to go over expectations, build routines and learn technology during Transition Days Sept. 1-4. This will help create more independence.
Will you make a different decision in two weeks?
No, we believe it is important to establish a clear start to school so our families can plan. In late September, the Board will revisit the Return to Onsite learning plan, but no changes will be made until after Oct. 2.
How will you support students socially and emotionally?
Student Support Services will be interwoven into the framework of remote learning and will be personalized based upon each student’s identified needs. Each student’s support team will be contacting families at the onset of the year to seek input and develop an individualized plan. As with onsite learning, students who receive instructional supports may miss other classroom instruction or those supports may be interwoven into existing schedules. That student’s team will work with the classroom teacher and family to minimize the impact these scenarios may have.
What made the District pivot to remote learning?
The state issued new guidance Aug. 14 that was more strict than previous guidance in a number of areas, and it conflicted with some earlier guidance. Among the changes were:
- A “close contact” has been more narrowly defined and would require teachers and schools to document who a student sits next to, who they may pass in the hall, who they sit near in the bus, who they wait in line near, etc…throughout the day. This new definition creates a significant challenge to be able to identify students and staff who have been in “close contact.”
- There is a new definition of an outbreak of COVID in schools. “Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections occurring within 14 calendar days of each other in individuals in the same classroom would meet the case definition for an outbreak.” This could mean frequent and heavy absences by students and staff.
- If a student is sent home sick with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, all of their siblings/household members must be sent home as well. If one household member is being evaluated for COVID-19, the rest of the household must be quarantined until an alternative diagnosis is made or a negative result is received. These requirements will create a large number of student absences and make it very difficult to staff a school, as teachers whose children or household members are sent home from school would be out of the classroom for two full weeks. Additionally, the amount of testing necessary given the return of students and staff would likely be problematic to local health departments.
- New guidelines require that schools would need to procure and fit-test N95 respirator masks for key personnel such as nurses and others who would evaluate students or staff reporting COVID-like symptoms, as well as for custodians. This requirement, which is akin to a medical setting, would require strict protocols that school districts are not yet equipped to handle.
- We would have to close a space for up to 24 hours before cleaning if it is occupied by a person with one or more COVID-19 symptoms. This means that daily we would have to close nurses’ offices or relocate classrooms, and in some schools we simply don’t have the space.
What do you mean by conflicting guidance?
The metrics noted from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) above did not provide a definitive answer on whether a school district should open or stay closed. The DuPage County Health Department is now working to interpret these metrics. Some of the guidance given Aug. 14 conflicts with guidance given the prior week.
What are other school districts doing?
Because the landscape is rapidly shifting, many districts have revised plans and are now going remote: District 99, District 68, District 60, District 61, District 86, District 202 Lisle, District 202 Plainfield, District 201, District 203, District 204, District 41, District 89, District 44, District 87.
I signed up for the Online Academy. Is Remote Learning the same?
No, the Online Academy represented a smaller enrollment of students. Because of this, students would not be in a group with students entirely from their home school. Remote Learning for all students allows the District to group students as they traditionally have – with students in their grade from their home school.
When will we return to Onsite Leaning?
Frankly, we don’t know. We are planning for a return to on-site learning after Oct. 2 but it depends on guidance from the state health department, the county health department and clarity on that direction. It also depends on which phase this region is in on Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.
Will both the Online Academy and Onsite options be offered?
If this region remains in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan, we will offer both options for students – Online Academy and Modified Onsite. We anticipate that there will be additional transitions back to onsite learning. However, we will work to minimize the impact of any future transitions on students and staff.
Why is OKEEP, the full-day kindergarten enrichment program, suspended?
OKEEP, the full-time kindergarten enrichment program, will continue to be suspended at this time due to the pandemic. The half-day program will be offered for all students during Phase 4 of Restore Illinois so when we transition to in-person learning, we can safely distance. This also provides consistency for kindergarten students across the District.
Do we still need school supplies?
Since the supply list was created for on-site learning, during the first few weeks, teachers will clarify what materials are required.We anticipate that students will need some of the supplies outlined in the school supply list. In addition, when schools return to in-person learning, students will be using the supplies.
What is the plan for Lester & Highland School Kindergarteners?
Lester and Highland kindergartners will move to new buildings in order to accommodate any future changes in schedules when in-person learning begins. Because there isn’t enough space for additional classrooms, smaller class sizes, and thus social distancing at Lester and Highland, there is a need to move a grade level to schools that have more room.
What if my family does not have reliable internet access?
During the remote learning phase, we want to ensure that all families have connectivity to the internet. If you don’t have reliable internet access, please reach out to your child’s school. We are partnering with Comcast to provide internet for those families who don’t have it. In places where internet may not be available, the District will provide mobile hot spots.
What technology needs will my family have?
District 58 is a 1:1 district, meaning that students in grades 1-8 each have a District 58 device to use for learning. In addition, this year, we have obtained an iPad for kindergartners. Each student in grades 7 and 8 will be issued a District 58 Chromebook to facilitate remote learning. Students also have the necessary access to physical materials to supplement their digital work.
- Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 District message – Recommendation to Board for In-person instruction; Learning preference survey
- Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 District – Recomendación a la Junta para la instrucción en persona; Encuesta de preferencias de aprendizaje
- Monday, August 31, 2020 – Privacy expectations during Remote Learning
- Friday, August 28, 2020 – YouTube Live Q+A session on Remote Learning
- Wednesday, August 19, 2020 District message – Board approves moving to Remote Learning
- Monday, August 17, 2020 District message – Board to meet to discuss updated state guidance
- La escuela decide el aprendizaje a distancia
Remote Learning Spring 2019-2020
On-site instruction at District 58 schools has been suspended through the end of the 2019-20 school year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first two weeks of school closures in March, District 58 provided emergency e-learning activities for students. After this initial period, the Office of the Governor and the Illinois State Board of Education released official guidance regarding remote learning, and District 58 implemented its remote learning plan on Monday, April 6. District 58 will survey teachers and families every two weeks to evaluate its remote learning plan and make improvements, through the end of the school year.
- Please view District 58’s Remote Learning Plan. (Plan de Aprendizaje Remoto del Distrito 58)
- View the Remote Learning Revisions (April 29, 2020)
- Please view District 58’s Remote Learning Calendar. View the Middle School Schedule.
- Have questions about remote learning? View our new short video series: “Remote Learning FAQs with Dr. Russell.“
- Parents/guardians of students with a 504/IEP plan: View information regarding IEP/504 remote learning.
- View the April 2020 Family Remote Learning Survey Results.
- Tuesday, June 30, 5 p.m. District message – Planning for re-opening of school
- Tuesday, June 23, 5 p.m. District message – State Guideline on Re-Opening Schools
- Friday, May 22, 3 p.m. District message – Dr. Russell’s Weekly Update
- Friday, May 22, Noon: District message – District 58 will provide free meals to local children this summer
- Wednesday, May 20, 5:30 p.m.: District message – Reminder about celebrations
- Friday, May 15, 3 p.m.: District message – Remote Learning Update: May 15
- Thursday, May 7, 5 p.m. District message – Remote Learning Update and Survey
- Wednesday, April 29, 4 p.m. District message – Remote Learning Update: April 29
- Wednesday, April 29, 4 p.m. Herrick/O’Neill message – Eighth Grade Promotion Update
- Friday, April 24, 1 p.m. District message – Remote Learning Update: April 24
- Friday, April 17, 2:45 p.m. District message – District 58 school closures extended through the end of the school year
- Wednesday, April 15, 8 a.m. District message – Please take our Remote Learning Survey
- Wednesday, April 8, 2 p.m. District message – New meal pickup procedures begin April 14
- Monday, April 6, 5:45 p.m. District message – Access to Remote Learning Plans
- Wednesday, April 1, 12:45 p.m. District message – District 58 Remote Learning Plan
- Wednesday, April 1, 12 p.m. District message – OKEEP and Preschool Fee Update
- Tuesday, March 31, 3 p.m. District message – District 58 school closures extended through April 30
- Friday, March 27, 12 p.m. District message – Superintendent’s Spring Break message
- Thursday, March 26, 1:30 p.m. District 58/Community joint message – Stay-at-home order enforcement at Downers Grove parks and facilities
- Tuesday, March 24, 10:15 a.m. District 58/99 message – Confirmed COVID-19 case
- Saturday, March 21, 3:30 p.m. District message – Update: New lunch pickup and delivery procedures to begin Thursday
- Friday, March 20 , 4 p.m. District message – Update: District 58 schools closed through at least April 7
- Thursday, March 19, 11 a.m. District message – E-learning update: Please read
- Tuesday, March 17, 8 a.m. District Message – Daily Attendance Email (message will be sent every e-learning day)
- Monday, March 16, 2 p.m. District Message – District 58 e-learning information for families
- Monday, March 16 12 p.m. District Message – District 58 will provide weekday lunches for children
- Saturday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. District Message – Social distancing recommendations
- Friday, March 12 District Message – District 58 schools closed March 16-April 3; new schedule implemented
- Thursday, March 12, 2:30 p.m. District Message – District 58 provides updated COVID-19 mitigation efforts
- Thursday, March 12, 12:30 p.m. District Message – Several District 58 activities canceled today
- Thursday, March 12, 10 a.m. District Message – No confirmed COVID-19 cases at District 58
- Tuesday, March 10 District Message – District 58 updates community on COVID-19
- Monday, March 2 District Message – Coronavirus information for District 58
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- DuPage County Health Department
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – COVID-19 Resources
- District 58 – How to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19
- Hable con sus hijos sobre el COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Un recurso para padres
- Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19