July 28, 2020 Update

A special Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, August 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at the District Office. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the Central 301 Pathway to Reopening plan. The meeting will be conducted in person but public seating is limited to 15 spots. Seating is on a first come basis. All guests must wear a face mask and social distance inside the Board meeting room. Public comment will occur both in person and also by email.  Members of the public are encouraged to join the meeting remotely.  Those joining remotely and wishing to make public comments should email Pam Israelson pam.israelson@central301.net prior to 5:30 p.m. on August 3rd. This is the only public comment session offered at this meeting.   Members of the public who would like to view the meeting may do so via the 301 Board of Education YouTube Channel stream starting at 6:00 p.m.  This meeting will be recorded as a podcast, and will be posted later in the week on the website.  The meeting agenda will be posted to  BoardBook on Friday by 4:00 p.m.  You can access BoardBook through the Board of Education tab on the district website under the Board Meeting tab. 

July 21, 2020 Update

At the Board meeting held on Monday, July 20th, the District’s Pathway to Reopening plan was presented. Please click here to view this plan.

Additionally, the Board approved a change to the 2020-2021 school calendar. With this new calendar, the school year will begin for staff on Monday, August 24th. Students will report on Monday, August 31st. Please note that we are still reviewing the quarter and semester end dates and they are subject to change. Click here to view the updated calendar.

Parents and guardians who have not yet submitted their Skyward form to indicate their preferred schedule for their student(s) need to submit this online form by Wednesday, July 22nd. Any students who do not have a submitted form will be assigned to the alternating day schedule. Please log into your Skyward Parent Portal to complete this form.

July 14, 2020

District 301 has been working throughout the summer to align our reopening plan with guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Kane County Health Department (KCHD) and Regional Office of Education (ROE). We appreciate so many of our families taking the time to complete the District 301 Parent Survey. 

The purpose of this communication is to share preliminary information with you about the structures we are putting in place and other information you need to know as your family plans for the start of the school year. Please know that all of this information is current as of today, but is subject to change based on guidelines from state regulatory agencies. 

Health and Safety 

The health and safety of our students and staff members is our top priority. We are making decisions about reopening schools that will ensure that everyone is safe while still providing continuity of learning. Currently, the universal precautions from the ISBE and IDPH require that face masks are worn by students and staff members who are inside a school building at all times. In addition, social distancing procedures must be observed, when possible. School districts are also required to increase cleaning of high touch areas during the school day, as well as after school. 

Students/parent/guardian and staff members will be required to pre-certify daily, prior to coming to school for any in-person learning experience, that they are free from COVID-19 symptoms. The pre-certification form will be shared with all parents and staff members. Specific information on daily reporting will be provided prior to the first day of school.

While school districts can have students in larger spaces such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, and library media centers (LMCs), the number of people allowed in those spaces is limited to 50. For that reason, as weather permits, physical education classes, lunch and recess will be held outside as much as possible.

Transportation

When school is in session for in-person or hybrid/blended instruction, buses will be transporting students who are eligible to receive bus service. Based on the safety requirements, the maximum capacity for full sized buses will be 50, inclusive of staff on the bus. Efforts will be made by District 301 to keep bus routes as small as possible and we will ensure social distancing occurs to the greatest extent possible. Everyone will be required to wear a mask. Students will be expected to come to bus stops with an appropriate face mask and, while waiting for the bus, maintain a distance of at least six feet from all non-household individuals. Additionally, students will be expected to come to bus stops with the pre-certification form filled out. This form will act as an “entrance slip” onto the bus. If a student does not have this slip they will not be able to enter the bus. Students will be required to wear the face mask while on the bus the entire time. Students will be assigned to two students per seat; siblings will sit together. The bus windows will be left open when possible. Bus sanitizing will take place between the morning and afternoon and upon completion of the afternoon routes on each student attendance day. Additionally, cleaning of the bus will be done between routes to the greatest extent possible while maintaining the necessary schedule for the instructional day.

Continuum of Instructional Services for the 2020-21 School Year

Over the course of the past several weeks, District 301 has discussed variations of three different instructional formats for the 2020-21 school year.  The premise guiding these discussions was to, first, ensure the safety and health of our school community and, secondly, to provide the most effective learning environment for students given the practical realities of guidelines presented by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health.  To that end, the goal of District 301 is to move to an alternating schedule which incorporates both face-to-face instruction and remote learning for all students.  Below are descriptors of elements incorporated in this plan:

Face-to-Face Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Face-to-Face Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic requires modifications to the typical school day where face masks and social distancing in classrooms, and throughout school buildings, are required by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).  Movement throughout the school building is limited and shared use of learning materials is prohibited.

Remote Learning

Remote Learning involves teaching and learning through a district-provided device.  It is a comprehensive learning model with a focus on core academic areas and integration of specials or exploratory courses. Lessons will be shared or completed in ‘real time’ based on a student’s school schedule to provide opportunities for learning. Common to both face-to-face and remote learning are attendance, assignments, grading and feedback.

Alternating-Day Learning Schedule 

An Alternating-Day Learning Schedule (sometimes referred to as a “hybrid” schedule) involves attendance at school by students on alternating days to receive face-to-face instruction, while participating in both synchronous/asynchronous instruction on the alternating days.  For example, students in one group will attend face-to-face instruction on Monday and Thursday, while the other days of the week will incorporate the use of remote learning strategies in ‘real time’ with their classmates.  Alternatively, students in another group will attend face-to-face instruction on Tuesday and Friday, while participating in synchronous/asynchronous remote instruction on the other days of the week in ‘real time’ with their classmates.  Just as with face-to-face and remote learning, expectations of attendance, assignments, grading, and feedback are common to this schedule method.

Due to the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established by ISBE and the IDPH, District 301 will offer an Alternating-Day Learning Schedule for the first semester.  This will allow students to come to school in smaller groups to meet with teachers, while continuing the learning process. This decision will be reviewed towards the end of Semester 1.  It is important that our families understand that active instruction will take place each day of the school week and that student participation is expected whether in the classroom or remote.  Wednesdays will be remote learning days for all students. This will facilitate mid-week deep cleaning of the school buildings and buses to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

As part of conversations with parents, some have indicated that they would not send their children for in-person learning in school this fall. In order to accommodate families who believe that an online option is best for their child (for example, due to medical complications of students or family members), full remote learning will be offered to families who wish to ‘opt in’ on a semester by semester basis. Additionally, we will have an option for families to ‘opt in’ for their child to attend face-to-face instruction every day, except Wednesdays, if space is available. Information about the way that families can choose an instructional model for their children is included below under “Next Steps for Families.”  

It is the goal of District 301 to bring students together for traditional, in-person learning just as quickly as possible.  However, as the rate of infection and response to the COVID-19 health crisis changes, we may be required to move between the above learning schedules with limited notice.  We will continue to follow the guidance provided by the State of Illinois and the IDPH and communicate changes in a timely manner.  

Health Requirements for the Start of School

Regardless of the learning model, we would like to remind you that students must have their school physicals and be up to date on their vaccinations before school begins. For additional information about grade level specific health requirements, please visit the health services page of our website.

School Calendar Changes (Pending Board Approval)

The State of Illinois Legislature has made the November 3 election day a school non-attendance day. In addition, the state has provided remote learning planning days for teachers during the school year. At this time, we are looking at two possible options. 

  1. Provide teachers with professional development days to prepare for instruction at the beginning of the school year, August 12-14. As a result, the first day of student attendance would be Monday, August 17 for K – 12th grade students and Thursday, August 20 for preschool.
  2. In an effort to provide a more comprehensive plan and provide additional professional development to our staff, we are considering moving the start of the school year a couple of weeks with students beginning August 31.

Next Steps for Families (IMPORTANT ACTION NEEDED)

We have developed an online form within Skyward Family Access for families to indicate their choice for their child(ren) to return to school. This form will need to be completed for each student in your household that is attending Central 301 schools by Sunday, July 19th. Families with multiple children can make individual decisions for each student making it possible for students living in the same household to participate in different schedules. Click HERE to log into Skyward. Once you are logged into Skyward, this form can be found on your home screen or by clicking on Online Forms. Please note, the online form will be listed below the registration reminder if this has not yet been completed. Step-by-step instructions are linked here. Any student that does not have a completed Return to School form will be enrolled in the alternating schedule. 

Family Communication

Information about next year’s school day structure for each grade level (elementary, middle, and high) will be shared during the School Board Meeting on July 20th at 6:00 p.m.  Please visit the website for the agenda and the link to the District 301 YouTube channel. The presentation will be sent to families and staff following the Board meeting and posted on the District 301 Reopen School webpage. 

Information about our plans will continue to be communicated to families via eblasts and will also be posted on the District 301 Reopen School Plan webpage. The website will be updated with the most current information about our plans every Tuesday.  

We continue to appreciate your support, patience, and understanding as we navigate this challenging time together. As a district, our commitment is to provide continuity of instruction for students while ensuring that a safe, positive, learning climate is provided at all times.

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