In-Person Hybrid Learning
The District 96 Return to Learn is made up of the following component areas. Each area includes action steps that can be taken by the district to ensure the component is successfully completed. While each component can be considered critical to a successful opening not all action steps may need to be completed based on the conditions in our region at the time. Each component area is unique; however, as you review each component area you will surely see overlap in the action steps.
Prior to the Start of School
Planning for students and staff to return to school is a critical part of a successful reopening plan. Prior to the start of the school year, the District will take the proper precautions to ensure that we start the year with clean and disinfected buildings. All precautions will observe IDPH and OSHA guidelines. This component ensures that we have the necessary equipment and PPE to successfully implement the remaining seven components of the plan. These measures are taken for the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. The action steps of this component include, but are not limited to:
- Inspect all buildings to determine readiness for re-entry and obtain other legal and appropriate safety inspections.
- Ventilate, clean, and then disinfect all buildings, desks, tables, equipment and other surfaces prior to students returning, using IDPH and OSHA guidelines.
- Create a time schedule for effectively cleaning and disinfecting buildings once students return.
- Ensure there are enough accessible sinks and hand-sanitizing stations to accommodate frequent handwashing by entire classes.
- Procure necessary health and safety supplies (e.g. masks for students/staff, thermometers, cleaning supplies, soap/hand sanitizer, etc.).
- Discontinue the practice of staff traveling to conferences and workshops, unless pre-approved by the office of the superintendent.
- Purchase and install additional safety signage (e.g. social distancing, proper handwashing).
- Reconfigure staff lounges to ensure staff is able to meet social distancing guidelines.
School Schedule & Classroom Configuration
In phase four of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, groups of up to 50 individuals can begin to meet. However, these groups are encouraged to safely social distance. Given the amount space of our classrooms and the structure of our schools, District 96 chose the aforementioned return to learn models to reduce in-person class sizes to ensure social distancing guidelines set forth by the IDPH and ISBE; however, the District will take the following precautions to keep students, staff, and the community safe.
Maintaining the guidelines set forth in Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan will require classes to be configured differently. Likewise, student movement throughout the school day will be restricted. We realize that, until we reach phase five in the Governor’s plan, our school day and the students’ school experience will be very different from what we are accustomed to. The goal of this reconfiguration is to maintain the social distancing guidelines and minimize the spread of the virus.
Schedule & Configuration of All School Buildings in District 96
- Students will enter assigned doors throughout the school building. Your child’s building principal will be communicating entrance and exit procedures prior to the start of school.
- Classroom furniture will be arranged so students will maintain maximum social distancing from their peers and teachers whenever possible.
- We will minimize the amount of movement for students into different spaces with scheduled breaks.
- Students will be allowed bathroom breaks as necessary. Students will be assigned to specific bathrooms to use to eliminate the mixing of groups. Social distancing signs will be posted in the bathrooms.
- Drinking fountains will not be used at school. However, students can bring water bottles to school, and water bottle fillers will be available.
- Hallway traffic patterns will be well-defined within the schools and designated entrance and exit patterns will be established.
- Reminders about social distancing will be posted around the school buildings.
- Students who receive additional support and services through Individual Education Plans (IEPs), 504 Plans, and/or EL services may have access to an extended day as determined by individual student needs. Should an extended day be determined to be needed, the days and times will be determined on an individual basis.
- All in-person extracurricular activities (e.g. sports and clubs) will be suspended until further guidance is provided. We will explore the possibility of virtual clubs.
- For the health and safety of our students, the teachers and administration are going to closely monitor student movement throughout the building during in-person instruction. Students will remain in the same classroom and teachers will rotate into the classrooms to teach their subject.
Schedule & Configuration Unique to the Elementary Buildings
- Students will attend school at the elementary buildings either in the AM block or PM block as noted in the schedules above. Students will participate in remote learning in the block when they are not in school.
- Locker/cubby usage will be limited to start the year. If/when lockers are needed (to store coats, boots, etc.) they will be strategically assigned to allow for social distancing during entrance and exit into the school.
- In person learning will focus on SEL, Literacy and Math. Remote learning will focus on Art, Music, Physical Education, Science/Social Studies and other activities as assigned by the teacher.
- Students will not have a recess while at school during the AM or PM block but will be given a 15 minute outdoor mask-wearing break when possible at the elementary buildings.
- Students will not eat lunch at school. Students who need school provided lunch will have it delivered to their classrooms before going home if they attend school in the AM session. If students need school provided lunch and they attend school in the PM session, they will be given their lunch the day before.
Schedule & Configuration Unique to Hauser Junior High
- There will be no passing periods at the junior high. Students will remain in the same room and will leave for a Physical Education break daily.
- In person learning will focus on the core subjects and one encore subject
- Junior High students will not be using lockers or the locker rooms this year.
- Students will not eat lunch at school. Students who need school provided lunch will pick up at the end of their instructional day. Families of remote learning students will be provided with a schedule to pick up their lunch as well.
- Students will have a modified physical education class in order to provide an outdoor mask-wearing break when possible.
The District recognizes that as we enter the later phases of the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan we will continue to be reliant on technology to support the learning of our students. Our technology team and staff will continue to support both the in-person and at-home learning of our students by keeping our hardware and software well maintained. Additionally, we will expand the deployment of one-to-one devices to all students throughout the district. The below steps will be taken to ensure technology remains an accelerator of student learning.
- The District will ensure that all necessary learning and communication software licenses have been renewed and updated.
- The District will clean, sanitize and update all student devices before their return to school
- In the first weeks of in-person learning, devices will be given to students for use at school and home during the hybrid model.
Social Emotional Wellness of Students & Staff
As the country and the world absorb the impact of COVID-19, our interconnectedness has never been more clearly on display. SEL offers a powerful means to support one another – children and adults – during this challenging time. Now, more than ever, we understand how important it is to demonstrate empathy and resilience and call upon our collective resolve to strengthen our schools and our communities.
- Spend the first week of school reacquainting students with academic behaviors and providing specific SEL lessons.
- During the first week of school coordinate visits from school support personnel to each class to discuss services and supports for students who may need support.
- Weaving social/emotional learning into weekly instruction and across content areas.
The instructional focus at the beginning of the year will be on re-establishing routines and procedures, assessing gaps in knowledge that may exist for students, and addressing critical content that may have been missed. The district will make provisions and adjustments to ensure that students are able to take academic assessments that provide the district with critical academic information in a manner that best fits student needs. Teachers rotate instead of the students as much as possible in small groups instructional situations.
The district will be providing ongoing professional development and support focused on our instruction, social emotional learning goals, and shifts in instructional approaches to meet the needs of all students while following recommended guidelines.
Protections for At-Risk Populations
District 96 supports and encourages in-person instruction for students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), 504 Plans, and/or who receive English language services during Phases 3 and 4 of the Restore Illinois reopening plan. It is important to note that all students, including those who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), 504 Plans, and/or who receive English language support will receive their services and support remotely if the State of Illinois returns to Phase 2 of the reopening plan. During Phases 3 and 4, District 96 is committed to provide in-person learning while adhering to the following IDPH guidelines:
- Requires use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
- Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
- Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
- Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
- Require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection
District 96 understands that there may be families that prefer a remote alternative to in-person instruction. Additionally, some students may be unable to participate in in-person learning due to a medical excusal. As such, District 96 will offer remote learning options to such students while adhering to their individualized plans (i.e., IEP, 504, ELL services) to the greatest extent possible.
In-Person Special Education & 504 Services
At the start of the school year, case managers will review each IEP/504 of the students on his/her assigned caseload and will provide updates to all educationally relevant staff to ensure that services, accommodations, and/or supports are provided as indicated. Case managers will also make contact with parents/guardians to determine if any adjustments are needed to the IEP/504. Case managers will also review and update parents on the remote learning plan that the student and his/her team will follow during times of remote learning, which may include services/therapies that are provided remotely.
While Parts Two and Three of the ISBE and IDPH Guidance permit in-person IEP/504 meetings, parents/guardians may choose to participate remotely via Zoom. In such cases parents/guardians may be asked to electronically sign any relevant documents. Parents may also choose to visit the front office of their child’s school to physically sign any relevant documents.
In-Person Early Childhood
Attention to our youngest learners is especially important when considering social events that prepare and orient this group of learners to the routines, schedules, and patterns of their school environment that may not be possible as usual. Young students may struggle more than other students with understanding and complying with social distancing and wearing face coverings. The District is committed to arranging a developmentally appropriate and safe learning environment for all students.
In-Person English Language Services
Any student identified as an English Learner remains entitled to receive instructional services based on their individual needs. The English Language Teacher will remain responsible for providing direct instruction to students who are eligible. The English Language teacher also remains responsible for communicating updates, providing consultation, and collaborating with classroom teachers regarding the needs of EL students, this includes developing plans for services that will be provided in-person and/or during remote learning. Finally, the EL and General Education teachers remain responsible for considering the language proficiency of EL students and the scaffolding and supports that they may need to meaningfully participate in both in person and remote learning.