ST. CHARLES – By next month, St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 parents should have a better idea of what the district's school day will look like in the fall.
Six different committees comprised of more than 100 staff members, parents, students, and community members are working on the plan as part of the District 303 Reopening Task Force. The committees include the instruction committee, the social/emotional well-being committee, the building and health safety committee, the transportation and food service committee, the communication committee and the staffing and human resources committee.
"We plan to communicate the first phase of our transition plan with families the week of July 6," Carol Smith, the district's director of communications and community relations, said in an email. "In the first phase document, we hope to share what decisions have been made up to that point and areas that are still being developed or addressed through the Task Force and planning process."
The Illinois State Board of Education together with the Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday released guidelines for school districts as they prepare for the upcoming school year. Schools and districts are strongly encouraged to provide in-person instruction to students.
"However, schools and districts that are unable to adhere to IDPH requirements may choose to implement blended remote learning days," the guidelines state. "During these days, schools and districts may utilize hybrid models of in-person and remote instruction.
As part of the guidelines, face coverings are required by everyone in all public and nonpublic schools “unless they are younger than 2 years of age; have trouble breathing; or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.”
Teachers can use face shields so that students can see their facial expressions. Masks do not need to be worn outside if social distance is maintained.
Districts can stagger schedules for arrival and dismissal, as well as hall passing periods and meal times. They should consider having staff rotate through classes, rather than require the movement of students. Hallways and staircases should be marked as one-way.
Schools are also required to conduct temperature and symptom screenings for students, staff and all visitors entering school buildings.
In the classroom, desks should be rearranged to allow six feet of distance in all directions, if possible. Windows should be opened, if possible.
Schools should also build in time for hand washing. Sharing of objects such as computers or tablets should be limited as much as possible, and objects cleaned between use.
The guidelines also prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space. Buses can carry up to 50 individuals, and all individuals must wear face coverings. Students “must undergo symptom and temperature checks, which may include self-certification, before boarding a bus,” the report said.
Social distancing should be maintained whenever possible on buses. Assigned seating charts are recommended.
Should Illinois slide back into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, only 10 individuals will be allowed on a bus. Lunch rooms also will have the same capacity limit.
"Schools and districts should also prepare for a return to remote instruction in the event of a resurgence of the virus or a second wave of it in the fall," the guidelines state.