On March 22, Superintendent Devon Horton provided an update on plans for school after the spring break and for the 2021-2022 school year.  

After Spring Break

Dr. Horton said the District would be able to provide additional seats for in-person learning after spring break. “We have reduced spacing in all of our learning spaces from six feet to three feet. Currently, we are serving roughly 3,600 students in in-person learning. Our models will continue until the end of the school year. But we will be able to add additional students.”

Parents electing to change from remote learning to in-person learning have had an opportunity to do so, but the cut-off is today at 4 p.m. All requests continue to be subject to staffing availability and capacity guidelines.

 Vaccinations of Teachers, Limited Right to Work from Home, and COVID Testing  

All educators and staff have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated this past week, said Dr. Horton. Additional opportunities will be available for those who want to be vaccinated and who have not yet done so.   

 Dr. Horton said, “In our agreement with the union, any staff member that received a certified letter from their doctor will have the right to remain working from home until the end of the school year. While I know this is not what many of you want to hear, we have been very graceful with our teachers and our staff and our administrators who have experienced quite a bit of trauma, as we all have. We want to make sure that we’re safe. We’re almost there.

“We’re offering up optional COVID testing for all staff and are currently in discussions to offer COVID testing for students.”

Dr. Horton said, “All staff will be required to return to in-person work for the school year 2021-22.

Next Fall

Dr. Horton said there will be two options for parents to choose from for school in the fall. “Each option will be five full days a week. Let me repeat: five full days a week.  

 “The calendar for next school year will be discussed and voted on in an April Board meeting.

“We have been working for our fall return for the last four weeks. There’s a timeline that we’re using to engage and communicate with staff and parents.

“Any student that wants to return in-person will be able to return and they will have a certified teacher in the classroom teaching. I repeat that again. In the fall, any student that wants to return will be able to return for five days a week and will have a certified teacher in front of them.

“There will be options for families to keep children remote if they choose. There will be some compression plans in place to finalize the virtual design in detail. Additional interventions will be in place at all schools. Our summer learning has been significantly expanded.

“We’re also looking at some possible outdoor spacing to provide more opportunity for students’ learning.

“Our final return to school plans for the fall will be presented and voted on at May’s board meeting.”

A prior article on plans to return to school in the fall is available

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...