Kaneland administrators explain ‘passive live-streaming’ learning option for students during quarantine

School board meeting held Sept. 27

SUGAR GROVE – Students who are quarantining can utilize remote instruction via passive live streaming throughout the Kaneland school district.

As board member Aaron Lawler said in comprehending aloud what passive live streaming offers students, it’s an additional resource for those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine while they are under exclusion consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“So we’ve added one more layer as another resource,” Lawler said. “But it’s still treated like they’ve always been absent in the past. They make up work, they get in touch with their teachers, those type of things.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, “Students and staff who are fully vaccinated with no COVID-19-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be excluded from school, extracurricular events, or other events organized by the school if they were exposed to a confirmed or probable case. CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals test three to five days after a close contact exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.”

School districts throughout the state are required by the Illinois State Board of Education to offer remote instruction to students who are quarantined for being diagnosed with COVID-19 or being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Districts must offer remote instruction when a student must stay home from school at the direction of a local health department or IDPH, according to a document released by ISBE.

“The remote learning requires quarantining students have five hours of a combination of instruction and schoolwork, with a strong recommendation that districts strive to provide all their students with at least 2.5 hours of synchronous learning with real-time instruction and interaction between students and their teachers,” according to the document.

Dr. Chris Adkins, director of human resources for the district, provided the presentation on passive live streaming, which is available in all grade levels, during the Sept. 27 meeting.

Passive live streaming allows students to watch and listen to direct instruction in the classroom, but students cannot interact directly with fellow students or their teacher like they can when live and in the classroom.

The video should show any direct instruction that is occurring while the audio should provide what the educator is saying to the class. The tool is optional and families have the ability to opt-in to passive live streaming via a Google form that is sent home upon initial exclusion of the student.

Adkins acknowledged that passive live streaming is not a full replacement of in-person instruction or a standalone learning opportunity. He also recognized some of the challenges.

“One of the challenges with leaving assignments for students at all levels in passive live steaming is all our different levels have different characteristics,” he said. “It may be more easy for high school students to go to Canvas, see an assignment, follow along with instructions and self direct their activity for the day whereas a young student may need more support with that so please do recognize with these directives they’re meant for the entirety of the district but also may be more or less specific for different ages and grade spans depending on what student is involved.”

In order to participate in this new learning resource a student first has to be identified as needing to be excluded. The building secretary will then send the student/family an email with instructions and a link to the Google form. Once the family completes and submits the form school administration will share it with the teacher or teachers who will have 24 hours to begin passive live streaming.

During public comment Elburn resident Tiffany Sizemore praised the experience her family has had with passive live streaming.

“We had a really great experience with passive learning,” she said. “My son was able to engage with his teachers. They had his assignments. We actually really liked it. Kudos to you for getting that all put together.”

Another Elburn resident, Lauren Czaja, took exception to Adkins saying that he is not aware of any surrounding district that is ensuring that students have real-time access to direct instruction. As of publication time, Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia school districts do not offer a passive live-streaming option.

Czaja is a third grade teacher at Krug Elementary in Aurora.

“So all my students that are quarantined or that are remote I actively, all day during the day, instruct them,” she said. “They answer questions, they raise their hand, they participate. Is it a pain? Absolutely. Does it take a ton of my time? Yes it does, but they are actively participating in my third grade classroom all day long. I’m at East Aurora so I’m really not that far, so just to see our district say that there is not anyone else doing active remote learning it’s just not true because I do it every single day.”