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Valley View School District 365U announced it will pause its planned return to some in-person learning for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students for two weeks as the number of novel coronavirus cases increases in the region.
District Superintendent Rachel Kinder made the announcement this week in a video message to families. The district administrators presented a plan earlier this month to begin a phased return to in-person learning.
"In the spirit of full transparency, we told the board and the community that with any plan we will continually reassess changing conditions and our current status and, if necessary, take a pause on implementation of our plan to return students to our classrooms," she said in the video.
Kinder cited a "concerning movement" of increased spread of the novel coronavirus in Will County and in the local zip code areas. Gov. JB Pritzker recently announced the region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, would see additional restrictions to slow the spread of the novel virus starting Friday, although the mitigations don't apply to schools.
Still, Kinder said the district needs more time to monitor these metrics to get a "firm understanding of the level of community transmission" and to "reassess the plan to return larger populations of students."
Kinder said taking a pause before students return to in-person learning would be less disruptive. Elementary school students will continue remote learning for two more weeks and may transition to hybrid learning starting Nov. 16.
This pause will not affect special education students who have already returned to in-person learning.
Middle and high school students are scheduled to return to in-person learning later this school year.
"We all know that health and safety are the top priorities," Kinder added in the video. "At the same time, we also know that returning students to in-person instruction is also of critical importance."
The transition timeline can be found on the district website, vvsd.org.