DIXON – The Dixon School Board approved a 2-day in-person learning plan for middle- and high-schoolers Friday, and it likely will be the same for K-5 students following concerns from teachers.
The district's original reopening plan presented to the board last month gives parents two options, either full remote learning or blended learning with 2-day in-person instruction.
Some board members were concerned that 2 days wasn't enough for students, especially those in K-5, and the district recently sent out a survey to gauge whether parents would be comfortable sending their children to school for 4 days.
There were also district concerns that they wouldn't be able to follow COVID-19 guidelines if more than half of students chose to come to school 4 days a week.
The Dixon Education Association and the district leadership team endorsed the 2-day option, citing health, safety and logistical concerns about 4 days.
Board President Linda Wegner said it's better to be cautious with reopening.
"I think that too fast, too soon and too many kids, it hasn't proven that it's working elsewhere in the country, and I think cautious and slow gives us at least a chance to have some in-person teaching," Wegner said.
The board was presented with different options for K-5 reopening with 2 or 4 days and either 6 feet social distancing or 4 feet. The Illinois Education Association this week said that 6 feet is preferred, but 3 feet of social distancing would be acceptable.
The board made a consensus that the 2-day option was what teachers were most comfortable with, and they'll vote on the measure Wednesday.
In the recent survey, 1,670 parents responded. Superintendent Margo Empen said based on the numbers and registration data, it looked like 47 percent of K-5, 59 percent of 6-8, and 56 percent of 9-12 parents were OK with the 4-day option.
The board also will vote Wednesday on a school start date, which likely will be Aug. 31.
The on-site learning option has students in school 2 days a week, either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will be grouped alphabetically by last names. Classrooms will be limited to 50% capacity – about a dozen students – with social distancing.
Off-site days will be for online learning, and Fridays will be remote learning for all students.
Those choosing full remote learning still will have schedules from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., and students will need to check in every day online for attendance. It will be a mix of live and taped instruction.
The Illinois State Board of Education guidelines for schools require use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings; prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space; require social distancing be observed, as much as possible; require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.
For more local news, visit SaukValley.com at https://www.saukvalley.com.