Dear District 126 Families,
I want to begin by offering my sincere thanks to all of our students, staff, parents, and community members who through extraordinary efforts and unselfish behavior helped us succeed over the course of the last few months. While certainly not without our bumps, frustrations, and anxiety, we are now at a point in our journey that we are creating a new path for teaching and learning for this fall.
District 126 continues to plan for a safe return to school for our students and staff.
Please know we do not have a final plan at this time. We are still looking at several options and will be asking for more feedback from you. Yes that means more surveys and conversations. I want to thank those of you that have reached out through phone calls or emails. These conversations are invaluable for us creating the best plan for all moving forward. Please don’t hesitate to reach out so we continue these productive and positive communications.
Below is an overview of our recent parent survey results regarding the return to school.
What We Learned from the Surveys
We had 843 families respond to the return to school parent survey.
How would you rate your comfort level about your child returning to school in person in the fall?
One obstacle in opening schools is the ability to follow social distancing guidelines on the school bus. With limited space and limited number of busses, would you be able to transport your child to and from school each day?
While District 126 is doing everything it can to ensure our schools can safely reopen in the fall, if given a choice, what form of learning would you prefer for your child?
In order to accommodate social distancing, one model that the state has made as an option is the Hybrid Model. This model would have students attend in person learning at school for a reduced amount of time and work remotely from home other times. Would this type of learning model work for your family?
Four collective concerns clearly emerged from the survey’s comments:
● Concerns about students wearing masks
● Insistence on thorough cleaning protocols
● Remote learning needs to be more robust than in the spring
● Questions regarding a blended model schedule specifics
District 126 will be working with the park district and the after school program, Ivy League, to provide support and care to families that need it when their students’ are in school.
Our instruction in the blended model and remote learning model will be different than the instruction students received last spring due to the mandated school closures. It will closely mirror in-person instruction. Please understand that we all need to be flexible and patient as our plans continue to be discussed. Our plans may change as we continue to receive updated guidance from state and local health authorities. We are also aware of a spike in COVID-19 cases in some areas of our country. Any number of events may cause us to change approaches, but District 126 is doing everything possible to provide a sound educational environment for our students while following CDC guidelines to ensure we are taking necessary steps to keep our students and faculty healthy and safe.
Thank you for your continued support and input. Continue to look for more communications over the next few weeks.
Craig Gwaltney, Superintendent