Dear District 58 Staff and Families,
The Board of Education met yesterday to discuss District 58’s learning model during the pandemic (the administration's presentation can be found by clicking here). The feedback and input shared by staff and families prior to winter break was extremely helpful and informative to our decision-making process. At that meeting, we shared that the schedule and structure of our current instructional model will remain unchanged through the duration of the second trimester, which ends March 5.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, District 58 remains committed to providing in-person instruction with a full remote option. The District does not anticipate that there will be a need for a long-term remote learning model. However, contingency plans are in place in the event that a short- or long-term adaptive pause from hybrid learning would be required. The District has been very successful providing in-person instruction due to strict adherence to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) safety protocols. Similarly, because of our staff’s commitment to rigorous online instruction, our families that have chosen the fully remote option continue to receive a high-quality experience.
At this time, we will assume that your family wishes to continue in the model you have currently selected (hybrid or fully remote.) Families that wish to continue with their current choice do not need to do anything. Families that wish to switch learning models must do so by Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. In order to switch models, a family must notify their building principal or coordinator directly via email. Please note, families must stay with their choice until the end of the second trimester.
The administration shared that its goal is to increase onsite and live instruction to the greatest extent possible when conditions permit; for example, we do not anticipate a change in the 6-foot distancing guidance any time soon. District staff will work over the next few weeks to identify potential pathways toward increased synchronous instruction. Similarly, we will evaluate the overall impact of any significant changes to ensure that the gains realized from any change outweigh the challenges it may cause. The first opportunity to adjust our schedule and structure would likely be the beginning of the third trimester, at which time families would be given another opportunity to select a learning model.
In the interim, the District is working with staff to implement enhancements to our current model. Enhancements include but are not limited to:
- Smoothing out shifts to temporary remote learning
- Redefining in-person and live instruction to include and/or increase other subject areas (i.e. social-emotional learning)
- Continuing our focus to increase student engagement, whether in-person or remote
We are also in the process of revising/implementing health and safety protocols due to changing guidance and what the District has learned/experienced over the first half of the year. These changes include:
- The elimination of universal temperature checks at school
- Updated quarantine protocols
Further information will be provided in newsletters sent out by building principals. Should you have any questions, please contact your child’s school. Thank you again for your partnership and flexibility. While we are not out of the woods, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We look forward to not only enhancing our current model but also to hopefully increasing in-person and live instruction down the road.
Dr. Kevin Russell
Superintendent of Schools