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August 21, 2020
District 207 Plans for 2020-21 Opening of School

After careful review and consideration, the district leadership team recommended to the Board of Education that we slow the start of in-person school at the beginning of the year through at least the end of the first quarter. That approach was approved at the Aug. 6 Board of Education meeting.

There are many reasons for this plan including that the delay will give the administration time to further evaluate in-person activities at our schools to ensure the safety of staff and students. We will carefully start the phasing in of in-person services beginning August 18 with class orientations, beginning with freshman students, over the first few weeks of school. In addition, we will bring in special education students for instruction and services in small groups as we are able to do so safely. We will begin the year in a synchronous remote format that closely replicates our regular school day along with normal student expectations for classes and course assessments. The District has created a detailed plan that shares key information and answers many staff and parent questions. (En Espanol)

Watch Dr. Ken Wallace’s presentation on the opening of school.

Each principal also held a session that are linked below.

Maine East

Maine South

Maine West

In addition, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Ms. Kathleen Di Sanza, hosted a session.

While many questions are answered in the District’s overview document (En Espanol), there is a question form so parents can submit questions. Questions also will be collated and answered in a District 207 FAQ document.

There are many reasons for this approach that will be covered in the district session including increased COVID-19 cases across our District (all of our District 207 communities are above the World Health Organization recommended line of 5% positivity rate for re-opening) and region; our own COVID-19 infection cases for students and staff in July as we opened our buildings back up; challenges with transportation; the time involved in contact tracing; the likelihood “at school” learning would be disrupted by positive cases of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines; staffing shortages; and our ability to follow social distancing guidelines.

“At home” learning will look much different than it looked in the spring.

  • Learning will be synchronous meaning students will be required to attend class following their class schedule and participate in synchronous learning during their school day.
  • The State directive to hold students’ grades harmless is not in effect for this school year meaning students will earn grades as they would in a traditional classroom setting.
  • Students will be able to be on campus if they choose at times during “at home” learning. Students will have the opportunity to be on campus if they are in a special population that requires a high degree of in-person support, if they are in a population whose home circumstances require them to attend campus more frequently, if a student is in need of social and emotional support, and for some hands on activities with specialized equipment (i.e. lab activities and CTE activities).
  • The schools will hold in-person orientations for each grade level in the first few weeks of school to help students transition to this very different school year and learning environment.

In addition, District 207 will allow students to participate in IHSA sports during the fall season, as well as allow clubs and extracurriculars to operate as normally as possible, just in a mostly virtual environment.