July 31, 2021

New Lenox District 122's return-to-learn off to successful start

It has only been a few days since in-person learning restarted, but New Lenox School District 122 Superintendent Lori Motsch is elated with how well students, teachers and parents have adapted.

“There’s no words to describe our school community,” she said. “We made it happen. It started with our board, our staff is exhausted and incredible and doing inspiring things. I’m really proud of them.”

The District 122 board held its monthly meeting Tuesday, its first since in-person learning restarted Oct. 14.

Motsch said she has been regularly asked what would warrant a shutdown of in-person learning and said that the district intends on staying open unless there is an outbreak or a shutdown order from the Will County Health Department or the state of Illinois.

The first day students returned, Motsch went from school to school, and later said she wished the rest of the board could have joined her to see how smoothly things were going. She said she was also impressed that many of the schools had 100% of the students complete the daily self-certification, which includes going through a symptoms checklist.

“Our parents have been great at communicating,” Motsch said. “Families have been rolling with all the procedural standings.”

The district has been keeping up with cleaning its 12 schools and is confident that it can slow the spread inside the school walls, but Motsch said a big focus has to be on mitigating the spread outside.

The students were not forced to go back to school and had the option to continue with remote learning. There were some road bumps involved with that, but the parents, students and teachers have adjusted well, she said.

The remote learning option consists of five hours of work time each day for students in grades 1-8, and 2.5 hours for pre-K and kindergarten. The students, if interested, are required to sign up by trimester.

“Everyone is complying [at school] and our remote learning has been amazing,” Motsch said. “Some of the students had a shift in teachers, but they welcomed their new ones with open arms.”