Return to School Status Update, September 18, 2020
September 18, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
This letter includes updates on our return-to-school planning.
At its September 16 special meeting, the Board of Education approved the extension of our fully remote learning plans at least through November 6, 2020. We are making efforts to bring in smaller groups of students while we are on a remote learning plan.
Starting October 5, we will be implementing important modifications to our fully remote plan to increase expectations and learning.
- We are increasing the frequency of synchronous learning for our classes so that students will see their teachers more frequently. We are also hopeful that parents will encourage students to use the camera feature whenever possible, as the visual connection of students, even on a computer screen, can help create a sense of normalcy and connectedness within the class.
- Students will no longer fill out the daily attendance Google form, as teachers will now take attendance through their online classroom presence.
These modifications are now included in our fully remote plan, which is in the Academics section of our website, and can be accessed at: https://www.d121.org/domain/135.
To support this transition, our staff will have a remote learning planning day on Wednesday, September 30. Student attendance will not be taken on this day and students should use this time to individually catch up on assignments.
Additional Considerations Needed for In-Person Learning
We continue to receive guidance from the Lake County Health Department regarding effective implementation of several illness management processes as we consider the possibility of safely resuming in-person instruction for all students. One such consideration relates to COVID-19 “single-symptom-presumed positive” cases and how to vacate areas that may have been occupied by an individual who has a confirmed or suspected case. At this time, we do not believe we can safely allow large numbers of students return to our buildings for entire school days.
To that end, we are planning to bring in smaller groups of students, particularly if we implement an abbreviated schedule. Even with a blended model, having our students in school for an entire school day with lunch periods is currently not feasible.
We are also investigating possible onsite testing for COVID-19, which may help decrease the impact of the single-symptom-presumed-positive obstacle and potentially help WTHS open with one of several blended models.
WTHS is committed to developing additional blended learning plans to include students spending a shortened time in the school building, with no on-site lunch, in case these current obstacles continue for an extended time without resolution.
Thank you again for your ongoing flexibility and support as we work through these processes for the safety of our students, staff, and families.
John P. Ahlgrim, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools