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Following is an email message sent yesterday afternoon from District 220:

“At the Sept. 15 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Harris shared a presentation on the metrics which will be used to determine when large groups of students can return to in-person learning. Based on recommendations from a district committee which consulted with medical and public health professionals, Barrington 220 will use five metrics. Each metric will help determine which of the above four steps the district is currently in. The five metrics include the following:

In order to determine the district’s current step, all metrics must be met for a minimum of 10 days, following the trends over that period of time.

  • Example 1: All metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days: the district is in Step 3
  • Example 2: Most metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days, except for one metric in Step 2: the district is in Step 2

The metrics status will be updated every week on Monday afternoon. You will be able to view the updated metrics by visiting this dedicated webpage. Keep in mind, all families will receive notice well in advance of any shift in steps.

Please watch the video seen here as Dr. Harris explain the metrics in depth at the Board meeting.

Timeline:

  • Next two weeks: Finalize Hybrid plan for each level.
  • Oct. 6 Board meeting: share district’s metric status and Hybrid plans
  • Oct. 7-Oct. 20: Conduct family survey (Distance Learning or Hybrid)
  • Resolve operational and staffing issues
  • Oct. 20 Board meeting: verify metrics
  • Oct. 26: “Target” Hybrid start date for all levels

*Please note, this timeline may be accelerated if possible.”

Editorial note: It would be wise to have the teacher’s union sign off on this timeline before any student or parent expectations are mismanaged (again).

 

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Ellie Luciano adjusts her backpack while keeping a physical distance form her peers at Wiesbrook Elementary in Wheaton

A bellwether for school reopening efforts in the pandemic, elementary classrooms in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 welcomed back students two weeks ago for the first time in more than 170 days.

As of Tuesday, the district has reported at least four students and one employee have tested positive for the coronavirus. But the district hasn’t identified any close contacts with those cases across the 13 elementary schools. Administrators credit physical distancing measures for helping to thwart the spread of the virus.

After months of enormous challenges preparing for an in-person start, the district still faces the complicated task of keeping the doors open in elementary schools. It’s also one of the major suburban districts pushing for at least a mix of face-to-face and virtual learning for middle and high school students.

Elmhurst Unit District 205 is providing another template, gradually sending students back to schools. On Monday, elementary students moved to a hybrid schedule. Sixth and ninth grades will follow suit Sept. 21. Populations of students with special needs also are now receiving on-campus instruction.

Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300’s school board will vote next Tuesday on the district’s learning plan for the second quarter.

District 300 originally had planned on starting the year in-person but switched to remote learning. Now the administration recommends moving elementary, middle and high schools to a hybrid schedule for the second quarter beginning Oct. 13.

Read more here.

Editorial notes: During last night’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Brian Harris gave no date for reopening 220 schools even at a hybrid level much to the frustration of parents and students who spoke during the meeting.  

One could sense the frustration on the part of board members, but all Harris seemed to want to do was talk about metrics, doing more surveys and fumble with his PowerPoint slides. Meanwhile, only 80% of teachers and staff are willing to work on 220 property while the rest work elsewhere.

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Authorities estimate that about 500 people turned out for the “Barrington Back-to-School Rally” Sept. 14, 2020 at Citizens Park in Barrington.. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Hundreds of people packed the lawn at Citizens Park in Barrington Monday, protesting against continuation of remote learning and calling for officials to allow students to play fall sports.

Barrington police estimated that 500 people attended the “Barrington Back-to-School Rally” and officers were out on foot and directed traffic ahead of the anticipated audience turnout.

The rally was to advocate to get children back to school in person.

“I want my kids to be in school,” said parent Erin Matta, of Barrington.

Amid ongoing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, some school districts – including nationwide – opted to start the 2020-2021 academic year with students doing remote learning.

E-learning was a hot topic at the rally in Barrington Monday and the subject of adverse signage.

Read the Chicago Tribune/Barrington Courier-Review coverage of the rally here.

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The Barrington 220 Board of Education is meeting tonight at 7:00 PM at 515 West Main Street. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

The board is not scheduled to meet again until October 6th, so those wishing to comment publicly on current topics of interest would be advised to attend and speak. For those who cannot attend, meetings are streamed on YouTube, and the link can be found here.

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Parents in Barrington Area Unit District 220 said at a rally Monday evening at Citizens Park in Barrington that remote learning is a struggle no matter how much they try to help. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

Holding signs like “Schools not screens” and “Stop playing politics, start playing ball,” more than 200 parents and students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 took part in a rally Monday evening asking the district to allow in-person schooling and sports.

District officials have said that students will be doing remote learning until at least Oct. 16. The “Let Them Play” rally at Citizens Park in Barrington asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to “get our athletes on the field and kids back in the classrooms.”

Among the organizers were parents Jerry and Heather Ewalt of Barrington, who have four children in elementary, middle and high school in the district and said families should be given a choice between e-learning and sending their kids to school.

“Why are they not in school? They should be there,” Jerry Ewalt said. “I am asking for a choice. I understand some people are not going to be comfortable with going into school, and that’s OK.”

A survey conducted by the district earlier this summer showed 70% of parents wanted their children in school, he pointed out. “So why are they not in school?” he said, getting applause and cheering from the crowd.

The survey also showed about 50% of the district’s staff had concerns about returning to work.

Read more here.

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The Daily Herald is reporting, “Monday, some parents in Barrington Area Unit District 220 are planning a ‘Get Our Kids Back to School and Let Them Play!’ rally at 6 p.m. at Citizens Park.”

We’ll provide further information when it becomes available.

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District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris

Families in Barrington Area Unit District 220 will have to wait until next year to find out whether they will be refunded any school fees for this year.

The school board discussed that Tuesday night after board members said they received inquiries from parents. Some school districts, like nearby Northwest Suburban High School District 214, have waived registration fees for the year.

District 220 board members said they empathize with families who are struggling economically during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they agreed to Superintendent Brian Harris’ suggestion to revisit the topic in January, because the district doesn’t yet have a clear picture of when students will start using more services.

Last spring, the district refunded fees for services not provided, including full-day kindergarten, transportation — paid by students who live less than 1.5 miles from school, for example — and student parking at Barrington High School. This year, the district hasn’t charged those fees when the services are not used, district officials said.

Board members briefly talked about the option of refunding 25% of registration fees — since students will be doing remote learning until at least Oct. 16 — and refunding technology fees.

Registration fees are $73 for kindergarten, $149 for grades 1 through 4, $172 for grade 5, $279 for grades 6 through 8, $390 for high school freshmen and $375 for sophomores to seniors. That amounts to $1,682,616 projected for the 2020-21 school year, according to district documents.

Read more here.

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Westminster Christian School in Elgin

Parochial schools across the suburbs are resuming classes either fully in-person or with hybrid instructional models even as most Illinois public schools begin the school year with remote learning.

They’re making the transition with temperature checks, face masks, social distancing, an abundance of hand sanitizers and other safety measures required by state education and health authorities, coupled with smaller class sizes, virtual learning platforms and one-to-one technology.

“What we are able to do that the public schools can’t do is meet our community and our students where they are,” said Erik Schwartz, high school principal of Westminster Christian School in Elgin which started classes Thursday. “The public school (system) is too expansive. They’ve got to make policies that fit the entire state or entire district, whereas we get to make policies that are for our school and for our community.”

Under a flexible hybrid model, a majority of Westminster Christian’s 260 students in preschool through 12th grade attend classes in person while roughly 20 students synchronously learn from home. Class sizes are between 15 and 20 students, and students can switch between in-person and remote instruction for health reasons or due to other circumstances. In school, students must wear masks regardless of distancing except when eating or excused with a doctor’s note.

Read more here.

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Hundreds of thousands of suburban children are resuming schoolwork within the next few weeks, but this year fewer than 6,200 of them will go back to their classrooms full time.

Only 9 of 105 suburban districts are offering “in-person” learning, the Illinois State Board of Education reports.

Another 30 of the suburban school districts will open with a “blended” model, where students are split into two groups and alternate between remote learning and in-class sessions.

The remaining 66 suburban school districts will have full-time remote learning, with kids having classes exclusively online.

Those opening for in-person learning are:

  • Butler Elementary District 53 in Oak Brook
  • Glen Ellyn Elementary District 89
  • Grass Lake Elementary District 36 in Antioch
  • Itasca Elementary District 10
  • Medinah Elementary District 11
  • Rondout Elementary District 72 in Lake Forest
  • Roselle Elementary District 12
  • Rosemont Elementary District 78, and
  • West Northfield Elementary District 31 in Northbrook

Read more from the Daily Herald here,

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Saint Anne Parish School classrooms meet all COVID compliant guidelines.

Following is a letter published yesterday by Saint Anne Parish School:

“As always, we remain committed to a safe student-centered learning environment. As you know, this school year we will be doing that by offering two main platforms of instruction: In Person Learning and Parallel Digital Instruction. Students engaged in In-Person Learning will be grouped into cohorts and abide by the safety procedures that we have put into place.

August 12, 2020

Dear Saint Anne Parish School families,

As always, we remain committed to a safe student-centered learning environment.  As you know, this school year we will be doing that by offering two main platforms of instruction:  In Person Learning and Parallel Digital Instruction.  Students engaged in In-Person Learning will be grouped into cohorts and abide by the safety procedures that we have put into place. 

Our Parallel Digital Instruction (PDI) will allow families who are not yet comfortable with In-Person Learning to live stream our teachers, and students to participate in the same curriculum as their in-person classmates while remaining a part of the St. Anne community. PDI learners will have the flexibility to rejoin their cohorts in person each trimester. However,  we have maintained our commitment to safety by setting up a desk for every PDI student in the classroom from the start of the school year regardless of their presence in the school!    Classroom set up  reflects that students will be sitting six feet apart! We hope that shows our commitment to every student and to safety.

Please review our dynamic  Saint Anne Parish School Reopening Plan  that was designed with all our stakeholders in mind – students, parents, and faculty/staff.  We are dedicated and prepared for not only a safe reopening but  it is our goal to remain open and that will take ALL of us to work together and focus on what is best for the children of Saint Anne Parish School!     In order to do so it was necessary to make adjustments to our school calendar.” 

Read more here.

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