Dear Students, Staff and Parents,
From the moment that schools were closed this spring, we have focused on caring for and educating our students. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for the teachers, students and parents who have joined in this effort under difficult circumstances to make the spring semester as successful as possible. Like all of you, we can not wait until life gets back to some semblance of normal as it relates to human interaction, face-to-face classes, competition on playing fields, proms, and graduation ceremonies in which laughter, joy, tears and hugs are present in real-time instead of in memories.
While we do not yet have certainty about the conditions that will apply to how we conduct school for our students in the Fall of 2020, we want to communicate the various scheduling scenarios described below that we are planning for. In all decisions, we will rely on Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Guidance, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) with the safety of students and staff being our top priority. We are blessed in District 207 to have been at the forefront of cloud computing with tremendous professional teachers supported by real-time coaching and one of the nation’s top Adult Learning programs. From the moment remote learning began in Illinois, our Adult Learning program shifted to virtual support for our teachers to help them succeed in supporting students in this spring’s virtual environment.
In order to help families prepare now, we are providing the following possible scenarios for how school may operate in the Fall of 2020, based on what we know as of May 18, 2020. As conditions change, and we have more precise real-time information, and we get closer to the start of the 2020 school year, we will update students, staff and families.
Scenario 1: Continued use of the virtual learning environment and schedule similar to the one that we have utilized this spring with staff and students conducting courses in their homes in a fully virtual setting. As the situation allows, we would pivot to Scenario 2 and then eventually to Scenario 3, but conditions may arise that cause us to move between scenarios. The continued use of the District 207 Modified Block Schedule is based on feedback from students, staff and parents.
Scenario 2: A phased “Blended” learning environment, which includes elements of face-to-face and/or remote learning depending on whether our region is in Phase 3 (gatherings of 10 or fewer) or Phase 4 (gatherings of 50 or fewer) outlined in the Governor’s Restore Illinois document. The enrollment size of our schools poses a challenge in these phases, as we would likely not be allowed to have large numbers of people present in the buildings. We will rely on CDC and IDPH guidance to determine the number of students who can safely attend our schools at one time. This scenario could potentially include, but not be limited to, access to the building for science labs, services for students with IEPs, CTE/Fine Arts experiences, counseling needs, and/or other possibilities. We believe we would likely continue to rely heavily on virtual learning delivered according to a schedule similar to the one that we utilized this spring, but we cannot make final decisions or plans until we receive more specific guidance from the CDC and IDPH.
In this scenario face coverings and social distancing are required, and we will follow the appropriate protocol based on Phase level; in addition, we may rely on other building entrance protocols such as temperature scans or other measures as they evolve with testing and discoveries of immunities related to COVID-19.
Scenario 3: Normal face-to-face school with no restrictions. In order for this scenario to occur we would need to be in Phase 5 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Guidance.
Other Important Information: Just as we have done this spring and will do this summer, we will continue to offer food service for our students in need along with other social, emotional, academic and technical supports as needed. Our communities have been incredible during this time, raising more than $90,000 to date to support families in need, and we will continue to support our families in whatever ways we can for however long this takes. If you want to donate, please visit bit.ly/207strong. We are in this together as a District 207 family and community. We will add this to the annals of District 207’s rich history of perseverance in all circumstances. As always, if there is a need in a family, please contact your school first to inquire for how we can assist.
Again, as we have more precise information over the summer we will share it. We plan for the first student instructional day to be Monday, August 17. In addition, we have partnered with our elementary Districts 26, 62, 63, 64, 79 and private partners to distribute Chromebooks to incoming freshmen so that we can use the summer to acclimate students to using them in order to prepare for whatever education scenario the Fall of 2020 brings. I can not thank each of you enough for your understanding, patience and grace during this incredibly difficult time. On behalf of our entire District 207 team we are truly blessed to have incredible students, families and communities that we are privileged to serve.
We have started a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website along with a Question Form for families to submit questions. These will be posted on the website and updated as we get new questions coming in.
Ken Wallace, Superintendent
Maine Township High School District 207