MAPLE PARK – The Kaneland School District 302 school board is continuing to explore and discuss through its Return to Learn plans for students and staff in the Fall.
Superintendent Todd Leden presented to the board during its June 29 meeting on two models of the plan: A/B blended learning or full capacity.
Specifics of each model hinge on guidance from the Illinois Dept. of Health and the Illinois State Board of Education.
Per a June 29 memo from Leden to the Board, District Administration anticipates "communicating to district staff and families [finalization of the plan] at the earliest during the week of July 6 through 10."
Leden said formal board approval by a vote of the Return to Learn plan is not required.
The board actively discussed a possible future meeting, perhaps in the next few weeks, to further explore input from its members on a recommended course of action.
The first possibility is an A/B model, where 50% of students would return to their respective school campuses. Face-to-face, on campus learning would be two days a week.
Leden noted some students would follow a Monday and Thursday on-campus schedule, while others would follow a Tuesday and Friday schedule based on alphabetized last names.
Wednesday would be used as an additional day for students with special needs or other at-risk students needing additional time to complete their work.
Social distancing is "to be observed as much as possible".
Lunch areas will have social distancing options with an expected opportunity for students to spread out.
"One of the other pieces of the guidance for lunches was not to have a cafeteria style," Leden said. "So, [parents and families] will probably see a more grab-and-go type lunch option rather than [a traditional cafeteria style]."
The full capacity model allows for: 100% students on campus, face-to-face learning five days a week and a maximum of 50 students per designated area for lunchtime and bus use.
Within both models, teachers "are and planning to be expected to be on-site everyday," Leden said.
Wearing protective facial masks or shields for students and staff will be required to attend school in both models.
"...From our district legal counsel, we have been told that we do have the right to make that [facial mask] mandate and we can fully enforce that by having students sent home," Leden said. "We hope that they would comply and be able to stay at school, but we do have the right to send somebody home if they're not in compliance."
Leden noted that temperature and health screening and guidance has since evolved from previous guidance from the state. It previously stipulated districts would have to scan and temperature screen every single student and staff member coming into a building at the beginning of the day.
"We have learned in this [latest] guidance that now there is the flexibility to self-certify with staff and students with proper education, proper signage [and] proper permission from staff members, and students/parents signifying that they do understand," Leden said. "They've answered the questions...and then they can come to school."
Alternate education options beyond the current two models are currently slim.
"At this point, families or staff members that need to, want to or elect to stay home, their options would be a medical request [exemption] from a doctor," Leden said. "Or, as much as we'd hate to lose families to homeschooling, homeschooling is another option...if there are concerns over any of the Return to Learn models."