School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton announced in a letter to the school community today: “On Tuesday, January 19, our plan is to tentatively launch our hybrid learning model which includes several learning pathways for students. As I have previously shared, we are providing a two-week quarantine period after winter break to support safety for all. The pathways are intended to maximize the number of persons who can be accommodated for in-person learning while providing increased support for students who need it most. In addition, efforts are being made to maintain student educator relationships to the maximum extent possible.”

A  Learning Pathways At-A-Glance document outlines schedules (AM/PM/Full-Day), instructional minutes, and a description of students who are likely to return in each pathway. Dr. Horton said, “Next week, parents/caregivers will receive an email notification from their child’s school regarding their learning pathway. More information will be forthcoming regarding classroom assignment. We are continuing to explore childcare options and as opportunities become available, families will be notified. Knowing the significant impact of the pandemic, students with three or more priority flags will remain in school for the full day with afternoon supervision and support for asynchronous learning.”

The decision to reopen is still subject to meeting state and district-level metrics . Two of the metrics include meeting certain test  positivity rates:

  • Three consecutive days averaging greater than or equal to 8% positivity rate (7 day rolling)
  • Positivity rate exceeding 3% in attendance-area zip codes

There are other metrics as well. Significantly, the metrics being used by the District do not include some of the metrics contained in the Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread provided by IDPH, including the number of new cases per 100,000 population, whether new cases are increasing week to week, and whether youth cases are increasing week to week.

Dr. Horton’s letter states, “Based on what we are seeing currently, this [the reopening] will require lower positivity rates and less strain on our healthcare system.”

The letter says that yesterday the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that the test positivity 7-day rolling average is 13.1% and the daily test positivity is 12.7% in Region 10, Suburban Cook County.

“A decision regarding the start of in-person learning will be announced no later than two weeks prior to the proposed start date.”



Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...