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D. 202 would start year with remote learning under flexible plan -- Students may return in person later based on pandemic status

District 202 students would start the 2020-21 school year with remote learning but could return to in-person learning for the second quarter this fall if COVID-19 conditions allow, under a proposal unveiled Wednesday.

District 202 Superintendent Dr. Lane Abrell shared the district’s proposed “Return ‘20” plan at a special Board of Education “Committee of the Whole” meeting. The Board is expected to vote on the proposal at its regular meeting next Monday, July 20, 2020.

The proposal, a video of the special meeting and a special email to comment directly to Board members and district administration are posted under the “D. 202 Return ‘20 Plan” icon on the front page of the District 202 website.

“We believe this plan meets everyone’s top priority, which will always be the health and safety of our 25,000 students and 3,200 staff members,” Abrell said. The proposal reflects input from more than 33,300 parent, student and staff comments collected through several surveys this spring and summer.

“We have worked very hard since this spring to significantly strengthen our remote learning capabilities and resources. We believe we can effectively and efficiently educate and support our students remotely until it is safe for them and our staff to return to school in person,” Abrell said.

If the proposed plan is approved, students would start school on August 24, 2020.

The district will distribute laptops to all 6th-12th graders between August 17-21, 2020. The district is exploring providing laptops for 4th and 5th graders as well.

District officials will monitor COVID-19 conditions through the first six weeks of school. If conditions improve sufficiently, students could return to school in person the second quarter of the year, which starts October 19, 2020.

Students could return sooner if conditions improve rapidly. Remote learning would continue if the pandemic conditions do not improve.

In-person instruction would be held on either a partial/modified or hybrid schedule depending on circumstances, to limit numbers of students in buildings. Options include A/B schedules and/or blended remote and in-person learning.

Parents will be able to choose whether to send students back to school if in-person learning resumes after the first nine weeks of school.

In any case, in-person instruction would require robust safety protocols and guidelines, including students and staff wearing masks indoors at all times per current state guidance.

Finally, if conditions significantly improve, students could return to in-person learning in larger, more “normal” numbers, again with robust safety protocols and guidelines.

Parents would still be able to choose whether to send students back to school.

Building administration will share plan details with families once the proposal is approved.

“We have to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run,” Abrell said.