September 23, 2021

Plainfield School District 202 to delay return in in-person learning

District cites rise in COVID-19 cases

Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 announced it will delay its planned return to resume in-person learning until further notice amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Around 300 multi-needs special education students returned to school on Monday. About 100 multi-needs students opted to continue with remote learning, according to a news release.

This was the first group of students to return and will continue to attend school in person because of their needs for direct attention and support.

Still, Superintendent Lane Abrell told the Board of Education at its meeting Monday that the district will take an "adaptive pause" and not return other students until further notice.

Preschool and kindergarten students were scheduled to return on Nov. 5. District 202 started the school year on Aug. 31 with remote learning for all students.

“We all understand the importance of having students in school for face-to-face instruction,” Abrell said in the release. “It was wonderful seeing those students come back through our doors this morning.”

He said increasing COVID-19 cases, staffing issues and scheduling challenges forced district administrators to reconsider its schedule for students to return to school in person.

Abrell said the district will continue to monitor five key metrics over the next couple of weeks: Will County's test positivity rate, public health guidance, available cleaning supplies, available protective equipment and the district's substitute teacher pool.

“We are looking at this situation as a community health issue, which is on the verge of overwhelming all of us,” Abrell said in the release. “No one wants the students back in school more than we do, but we need to make a balanced decision."

In recent weeks, much of the state, including Will County, saw additional mitigations from the state as the number of COVID-19 cases has increased.

Valley View School District 365U also recently announced a delay to its planned return to in-person learning this fall.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.