Learning Model FAQ's
Full In-Person and Full Remote Learning Models
Dear District 41 Families,
As you think through the learning model options that we are asking you to consider for the remainder of the school year, I thought I would put an FAQ together based on questions we have received from parents this week. I hope this information guides you and provides some additional helpful information.
The commitment form is now live in Skyward and we ask that you make a choice for your students by Tuesday, March 23 at noon. If you are interested in even more information before making a decision, please watch the Board of Education meeting on Monday evening, March 22. More details will be presented then as well.
Dr. Melissa Kaczkwoski
FAQs Based on Parent Questions
Is there an opportunity for parents to make a final choice between proceeding with the new full return/full remote model or the hybrid model we are currently in?
The commitment form in Skyward will ask parents to choose the full remote model or traditional full in-person model. If the data from this binding survey comes in vastly different from the non-binding survey, we will share the information with the Board as soon as possible. We will be monitoring the commitment form responses as they come in.
Will saliva testing be mandatory for all to attend full time?
Most likely. It’s a decision the Board will make, most likely on Monday.
How were teachers consulted? What were their responses?
The district works closely with our two associations (GEEA and AFSCME) on matters such as this. They have been part of the conversation and will continue to be as decisions get made by the Board and within the District.
What resources will be diverted to planning for the traditional full in-person model? From what are they being diverted and how will that be made up to ensure the future success of summer and fall programming?
A plan to fully open will cost money and time. Administratively, it is impossible to quantify the time that this planning will take and it is different based on roles and responsibilities. Time will be allocated to staff for planning.
How will children be supported in this transition? Specifically children for whom all day school is a first and those who have special needs?
The mental health staff at each school will work with our Director of Student Services to prioritize reacclimation for those students who have not been in person at all. Assistant Principals and Case Managers will be the “go to” people to determine if students who have IEPs and 504 Plans need something that is more individualized to assist them with any transition.
Will classrooms all have added filters? Windows open? Yes. We had 10 hepa units purchased early this year for specific spaces. After the Board meeting yesterday, the Board approved 250 more. We will have 260. We have been using hospital grade filters in the HVAC systems. Teachers may open windows for more air circulation depending on their outdoor temperatures.
How will the district ensure support for full remote families of different learners, particularly now that the day has been extended significantly? Will the curriculum or timing be adjusted to reflect a remote environment? Will classes be live streamed or have their own teachers?
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Accountability is currently working directly with principals on all aspects of the in-person and remote models. Having the commitment information is key in planning for both models. Just as is the case currently, there may be instances where livestreaming is utilized and instances where there is a specific remote teacher assigned. Dr. McCluskey will provide more detailed information as decisions are made.
How will the district support families for whom this late stage schedule change is hugely and legitimately burdensome, particularly those who are deemed at risk?
D41 is fortunate to have a handful of amazing partner organizations that are committed to supporting families in a variety of ways. We also have staff members who are in “outreach” roles who work directly with families. Building administrators are also front line advocates for families who have some sort of need. As an organization, we do everything that we can to support families to the best of our ability.
What specific steps were taken to engage the 20% of people who did not respond. Were these non-responses due to language barriers, technology access issues, etc?
As mentioned in a previous response, we have staff members who work in the capacity of outreach to families who are at risk for various reasons. The survey was translated into various languages, our telephonic translation service through Heartland was available to use with families, individual phone calls were made and video instructions have been provided regarding the use of Skyward. In addition, email reminders were sent to families who had not yet completed the survey.
Will any child who wants to eat outside be able to? We will alternate this -- One day we will eat in the classrooms and then other days it will be outside. Principals will schedule the lunches in a manageable way.
How many students do you anticipate will be pushed to full remote who were in hybrid?
How will these families be compensated for the loss of their in person learning?
We do not anticipate that any students will be pushed to full remote. We have committed to carving out the 3 feet to make this work if this is the decision that gets made. We have also committed to increased mitigation measures. We hope that all families feel safe sending their child/children to school.
What measurable, non-subjective benefit does this full day return offer?
The guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health have determined that as of 3/9/21, that 3 feet distancing is considered safe (6 feet while eating) for schools. D41, along with many other public school districts in Illinois, are in the position of trying to best navigate the new guidance. There is not a data source that is currently in use that will objectively measure a benefit (or cost) of making this transition.
Will you commit to a 14 day gap between spring break and exiting the hybrid model to ensure most cases will have revealed themselves by the time more students are subject to strict quarantining?
A potential start date will be discussed at the 3/22/21 Board of Education meeting and it is anticipated that this will be part of the discussion.
Will you require families to report out of state travel and how will travel to hotspots be managed?
The district does not have the legal authority to enforce travel restrictions and quarantines. We are all at the mercy of everyone to exercise thoughtful decisions regarding travel and self-imposed quarantines. As a district, we want all families to feel safe sending their children to school. In order to make this a reality it will take a collective commitment not just to the safety of your own family but to the safety of other families. We have over 40 students in
our district who have a physician verified diagnosis that puts them at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they were to contract the virus. Remote learning is not a choice if it is the only safe option. It is up to everyone, as a D41 learning community to do what is necessary to keep all kids safe.
What benefit does this new furniture offer besides being more compact? Will it be retained and used in place of the previous new furniture?
The furniture purchased will be in use for the remainder of this year and moving forward.
How many volunteers are required per school per day and for what shifts? How will you recruit and security check volunteers? Will volunteers be vaccinated? How would exposure and quarantine work between students and volunteers?
Principals are providing volunteer numbers directly to one of our Pandemic Response Advisory Team (PRAT) subcommittees. The subcommittee will be working with the schools and coordinating the volunteers. It is not required to be vaccinated to be in the schools. As we do with all volunteers and visitors in our schools, we would put them through the Raptor security system prior to allowing them access. We would follow all exposure and quarantine guidelines.
Why did the administration not provide a formal recommendation for or against this full return/full hybrid model? Or is it to be understood that the recommendation to finish this year in hybrid from February still stood?
As discussed at the 3/15/21 Board meeting, the administration shared potential benefit and concerns about making such a significant shift. The shift is precipitated by the change in guidance from IDPH/ISBE that happened on 3/9/21. In an ideal situation, superintendents would have been provided with advance communication to anticipate an upcoming change in
the guidance. The timing and the magnitude of this decision is welcome news for some families and extremely concerning for others. Making an enthusiastic recommendation one way or another is impossible when leaders must be respectful of all views and in recognition that it will be good for some but likely not good for all students.
Can I pick my child up for lunch/recess?
At elementary only, the principals would like to trial a process for signing your child out and back in for the lunch/recess period. More information will be forthcoming. If it is too chaotic or if there is an issue with students arriving back to school late, the practice may be discontinued. There are just too many students at Hadley for this to work within the given timeframe.
What is your response to concerns that this sets a precedent of rule by community majority for major district decisions?
From an administrative perspective, parent input is one part of making a decision. Often times, mandates and requirements are deciding factors in decisions. The Board will likely have a perspective on this as well.
Will we know about any possible teacher changes before making a decision as that will affect many decisions?
This is not possible because the principals will not know the numbers until we get the binding commitments. We will keep these changes to an absolute minimum. We had to let people know that it is a possibility, most likely more so at Hadley. In some situations, it will not be avoidable.