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Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris went into great detail about why distance learning will be used to start the 2020-21 school year, but parents and students voiced their concerns at a meeting Tuesday night.

Like a growing number of suburban school systems, District 220 last week reversed course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes. Harris said the remote learning will go to at least Oct. 16.

A maximum 50 people were allowed to attend Tuesday night’s meeting in the Barrington Middle School-Station Campus cafeteria. Some parents held signs outside the school entrance showing their displeasure with the decision to start 2020-21 with the distance learning.

District 220 officials said two significant problems emerged as they planned to bring back students last month: the inability to maintain social distancing and meeting staffing needs.

Harris said that while a survey showed 70% of parents wanted their children in school, about 50% of the district’s staff had concerns about returning to work. He said a longtime contract clause states teachers cannot be forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Read more here.

Editorial notes: As many as 1,500 people tuned in to the meeting at times. “Like” verses “Dislike” ratings by audience members were even until 220 turned the feature off.

Finally, text chat comments posted by audience members were frequent and often very critical of 220 until they turned the feature off to silence their critics at around 7:00 as seen below:

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The District 220 Board of Education will holding a very special meeting this evening at 6:30 PM at the Barrington Middle School Station Campus. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

Due to public health guidelines, capacity will be limited to 50 people in the cafeteria at a time. Another 50 people will be able to watch the live stream of the meeting from the Station library. Any additional people will be asked to wait outside the building and will be called in if they signed up for public comment.

Masks are required if you choose to attend the meeting in person.

If you are not able to watch the meeting live, the video will remain on our YouTube channel to watch at any time. 

Related: “District 220 announces school year to start “primarily” via distance learning; some say board caved to teacher’s union

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Though not on their agenda, our Board of Trustees had a general discussion and provided updates on the “InZone” topic at their July meeting. We found the information enlightening, and we encourage residents to take less than ten minutes to listen in on some history and where things stood last week in the matter.

The link to the recording of their discussion can be accessed here.

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District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris

After announcing earlier this month that the new school year would start in-person with an option for remote learning, Barrington School District 220 officials revised that Wednesday and said it will now be all virtual.

“As guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, county health departments, and other health organizations continue to evolve, we have concluded the ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ as presented at the July 14 Board of Education meeting is not attainable,” Superintendent Brian Harris said in an electronic letter to parents and stakeholders distributed Wednesday.

Following that July 14 meeting, district families were given about 10 days to decide whether their children would attend school in-person – wearing masks – or spend five hours a day doing distance learning when the new academic year starts Aug. 20.

That had been the message Harris delivered at the board meeting as he presented the district’s Roadmap to Reopening plan to board members and nearly 900 viewers who watched the virtual meeting on YouTube. He said then that, “we really want to get all our kids back in a safe environment.”

But in his notification Tuesday, Harris said the only option, for now, is to drop the plan for kids to return to the school buildings.

Read the Chicago Tribune account of what happened here.

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District 220 issued to following statement:

“Dear Barrington 220 community,

I appreciate your patience and understanding as we have been navigating Barrington 220’s Roadmap to Reopening for the 2020-21 school year. Thank you to all of the stakeholder groups who have provided the district with feedback and asked questions over the past several weeks. As you can imagine, each family has its own unique situation and there are many factors to consider which not only impact our students and staff, but also the entire Barrington area community.

Over the past couple of months our administrators, teaching staff and support staff have worked together to figure out the best ways to educate our students, given this uncertain reality we all face. Board members have also provided input during Board meetings.

As guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), county health departments, and other health organizations continue to evolve, we have concluded the Roadmap to Reopening as presented at the July 14 Board of Education meeting is not attainable. Starting the 2020-21 school year in a primarily Distance Learning environment is necessary in order to meet current public health guidelines and keep all students and staff healthy. This is an extremely difficult decision and while I know many families and staff will welcome the change, I realize many others will not.

The Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting to review revisions to Barrington 220’s Roadmap to Reopening and provide further context about the district’s Distance Learning guidelines, which may be adjusted based on further guidance from the agencies listed above.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, August 4 in the BMS-Station cafeteria. Due to public health guidelines, capacity will be limited to 50 people in the room. Masks are required if you choose to attend the meeting in person. Click here if you would like to watch the meeting live on YouTube.

I am confident we will maintain excellent teaching and learning in Barrington 220, while we provide a safe and healthy environment for students and staff. We will continue updating the community as the situation changes.”

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After initially announcing plans to welcome students back to campus when school opens next month, Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials reversed course Wednesday and announced they would offer only remote learning when classes resume.

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

In a message to the school community announcing the change, Superintendent Brian Harris said officials concluded that the original plan to welcome some students back on campus is not attainable.

“This is an extremely difficult decision and while I know many families and staff will welcome the change, I realize many others will not,” Harris wrote.

The remote learning plan is necessary to meet current public health guidelines and keep all students and staff healthy, he added.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Audio recordings of Tuesday evenings Board of Trustees meeting have been posted to the Village website. To access the recordings, click here.

Related: Another Roadblock For InZone Project Founder Terrance Wallace, Who Plans To Bring Boys From Violent Neighborhoods To Barrington Hills Mansion

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(Click on image to enlarge)

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a letter to Algonquin Township officials on Thursday calling for a referendum on the elimination of the township to be added to the Nov. 3 ballot.

According to the letter, the next meeting of the township’s board of trustees falls just five days before the Aug. 17 deadline for local governmental entities to add referenda to the November ballot.

“I firmly believe that taxpayers should have the ultimate say to choose how they are governed – or in the case of township government, whether it is still needed in the 21st century,” Franks said in a news release sent out Thursday.

In response, Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said Franks could have taken it upon himself to petition to get a referendum on the November ballot if he felt strongly about it.

“He had months to get this on the ballot, all you have to do is get some signatures,” Lutzow said Thursday, remarking that the request seemed a bit last-minute.

Read more here.

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Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals members are expected to make a recommendation in September on whether Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District should be allowed to build a new station its leaders say is needed to improve service on the agency’s east side.

The zoning panel Wednesday concluded a two-session public hearing that featured testimony on the proposal, which calls for a 10,000-square-foot station on roughly 5 acres at 1004 S. Hough St. The land sits just outside the borders of Barrington Hills and Barrington in unincorporated Cook County.

The advisory panel is being asked to recommend a special-use permit allowing the station in a residential neighborhood zoned for single-family homes.

Barrington Hills resident Thomas McGrath, whose Hawthorne Road house is on the western border of the site, submitted a petition signed by fellow homeowners opposed to the proposal.

“Believe me, the 50 people who signed the petition who live in the exact location they want to put this fire station do not believe it will increase their happiness or their well-being, so (the district) does not meet that standard of (county) approval,” McGrath said.

Read more here.

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Police chief Joseph Colditz is seen here escorting people out the Village Board meeting Tuesday night.

BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — A man’s fight to bring boys from violent Chicago neighborhoods to Barrington Hills hit another roadblock Tuesday.

Terrance Wallace, founder of the InZone Project, is trying to buy a large mansion to provide a home for as many as 15 Black and Brown boys.

He has been working on approval from the Village of Barrington Hills since 2018, and he claims he has submitted the proper paperwork.

The topic got contentious during a meeting Tuesday night. Several people spoke on Wallace’s behalf, while others questioned his motives.

Read more from CBS Chicago here.

Editorial note: Last month it was 25 boys, now it’s 15. Also, last month it was reported Wallace owned the home and now he is, “is trying to buy,” it.

 

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