News - Joliet and Will County

Plainfield 202, Valley View school districts go fully remote learning

Both districts had special needs students attending in person

Jessica Heft talks to her Functionally Based Instruction class on Monday, October 26, 2020 at Drauden Point Middle School. Special education students returned to in-person learning this week in schools across District 202.

Two Will County area school districts announced the few students who were learning in person will switch back to remote learning as novel coronavirus infections continue to rise significantly.

Starting next week, special needs students in Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 and Valley View School District 365U will attend school remotely, both districts announced.

Both districts cited the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and test positivity rate in Will County.

Within about two weeks, Will County’s rolling average COVID-19 test positivity rate rose from a little over 10% to about 18% as of Nov. 9. This past week, Gov. JB Pritzker announced stricter mitigations on several counties, including Will County, for a high test positivity rate, although the restrictions do not apply to schools.

"With the projected spikes in transmission and positivity over the next month, this decision is being made to support mitigation efforts in our community and most importantly the health and safety of our students, staff and families," Valley View Superintendent Rachel Kinder said in an announcement. "Despite our best efforts to mitigate risk and implement safety protocols within the district, our staff and students are being impacted by exposure and transmission at home and in the community."

Both districts began the school year with all students participating in remote learning as novel coronavirus infections rose in the area late this past summer.

District officials then planned for a gradual return to in-person learning and began allowing special needs students to come into the school district in recent weeks.

But as infections began rising again, administrators paused the return to in-person learning.

“We understand that prolonging remote learning will bring continued challenges for our learners and families, but we are hopeful that we can work together as a community to create conditions that will soon allow us to bring our students back to school,” Kinder said.

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.