Planning for the next school year is continuing with a survey of District 28 families. The district needs to know how many students will still need to continue in remote learning for 2021-22 in order to determine staffing and class sections.
The Illinois State Board of Education is strongly encouraging all students to come to school next year unless they or someone they live with is at increased risk of severe illnessas defined by the CDC.
Northfield Township school districts will meet in May to discuss developing a joint township remote learning academy, said Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt. Parents were asked to respond to the survey with their tentative choice for 2021-22 by May 4.
The state guidance reinforces essential mitigation strategies currently in place, including social distancing; universal use of face masks and PPE; contact tracing and isolation of confirmed/suspected cases; increased cleaning and disinfecting; and frequent hand-washing/disinfecting.
IDPH has made an adjustment to its social distancing guidelines, however. 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.
Capacity limits for non-academic activities such as lunch are determined by the ability to space students appropriately instead of a capacity limit per room. School buses are still limited to no more than 50 people.
Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt said that principals are evaluating classroom space for the next school year in anticipation of more families choosing in-person learning.
“The principals are looking at spaces to see how a typical class size may work within our classrooms. We want as many kids as possible in-person with desks as far apart as we can,” Dr. Hewitt said. “It should be a more normal return to school but not 100% normal” for next year.
Schools must continue to offer students a remote learning option if they or a household member have significant health-related issues. As plans for the next school year take shape, communication will be shared with parents. Parents are being surveyed regarding any health concerns that might require remote learning for 2021-22.