Dear CUSD #20 community,
First, I want to again thank you for your support and understanding as our school district worked to deal with the unexpected issue of COVID-19 in March. I am very proud of the way our students, parents, and employees handled the demands we were faced with to protect everyone as we continued to educate and feed our students during the most unusual of circumstances.
While remote learning wasn’t what we had planned to do for our students for the last 10 weeks of school, I feel the staff did a wonderful job in putting together a quality education for our students. As dedicated educators, everyone stepped up and did whatever was asked of them to provide for our students. I also commend the parents for their role in helping the process work, whether it was driving to school to pick up packets or encouraging students to complete their on-line work.
As you know, there continues to be concerns and questions related to how schools plan to reopen in August 2020. We are committed to provide a solid education for all our students, while also providing a safe learning environment for the staff and students. Our desire is to return to school as normal (traditional) with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures. However, we must be proactive and be prepared during these ever-changing times to continue educating our students if and when circumstances change, as predicted, throughout the year related to the health and safety of our students and employees.
We have organized a “Remote Learning Committee” as well as a “Return to School Committee” to address various issues concerning our school year for 2020. These committees are made of administrators, teachers, staff, and parents of our district. At this time, we are working on three plans for next year:
Traditional Plan- We would continue school as normal with enhanced safety precautions in place such as temperature checks, increased hand sanitizer availability, increased frequency of cleaning, limited visitors to school, masks, and elimination of large gatherings during school in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Blended Educational Plan- This would be a combination of remote learning and face-to-face instruction with increased safety measures as listed above, which could be done in a variety of configurations such as alternating days of attendance, flipped classrooms, and teachers moving from class to class, rather than students. This would occur if the Governor’s Executive Order required us to maintain a social distance (six feet), to limit the number of people in groups.
Full Remote Learning Plan- All students would participate in the learning of new material through remote learning as we did in the spring. We are working to make adjustments to the process and will release that information once it is finalized, if we are required to use this option. This would be enacted if the Governor’s Executive Order closed schools again due to health concerns.
There is a chance that we would start the school year under one of these three options, then transfer to a different option due to changes in health concerns in our community. As a district, we are working on all plans, but also understand that the Illinois State Board of Education and Governor Pritzker, have the final decisions on certain issues.
I encourage our parents to continue to monitor the situation through reliable sources. We will update the community when new information and plans become available. There are many false rumors being disseminated which leads to unnecessary confusion. In addition, there are some issues that will be determined by local authorities, so if you read that one district is doing something, it may or may not be happening in our district.
I would like to remind everyone there is no way for us to please everyone as we make these decisions. Our priority is to keep everyone safe while providing a solid education. Every family situation is uniquely different. We fully understand your varied concerns about health and safety, remote learning, wearing of masks, the value of face-to-face instruction, parents needing to work, the economy, and all of the other unexpected consequences of not being in school. If for some reason, we can’t be in a traditional school situation, our goal is to find the best way to have our students safely in our buildings as frequently as possible to ensure the health and well-being of all.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will pass along your concerns to the committees as we continue to plan for the upcoming school year.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer.
CUSD #20 Superintendent