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School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton provided an update about the impact of the Resolution adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) a few days after the District announced its return to school plan on May 17.
The District planned that nearly all students would return for in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year, but it provided a virtual learning pathway for a limited number of students. ISBE’s Resolution does not impact the District’s plans to return to in-person learning, but it does impact the proposed virtual pathway.
“After much discussion and consideration, we have determined that our virtual learning pathway, as intended, is not allowable under the ISBE Resolution which clearly states that, “Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days,” said Dr. Horton. “As such, we have made the decision that we will fully resume in-person teaching and learning for all students and staff next school year. The District will not provide a virtual pathway, with the exception as listed below.
“Under the Resolution, District 65 will continue to offer virtual learning for students who are ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine AND are under a quarantine order. This means that District 65 will provide virtual learning for students ineligible for the vaccine and who are required to quarantine for either contracting or possibly being exposed to COVID-19. This option will remain available to them during the length of their quarantine period.”
Dr. Horton said some families had submitted the form expressing an interest to continue virtual learning. “We know that the decision by ISBE and the limitations around virtual learning will have an impact on their plans for the coming school year,” said Dr. Horton. “We care very deeply about providing a safe, supportive learning environment for all children. Our team will reach out to these families individually to let them know of the ISBE decision and to better understand their situation and how we can best support their child with learning in the coming school year.”
Dr. Horton added that the District would be adhering to ISBE’s most current guidance and “will devote all of our resources and energy on a robust, safe, and high quality in-person learning program.
“The ISBE Resolution cites the importance and benefits of in-person learning both academically and emotionally in its decision. I am grateful for the incredible efforts and resiliency of our staff, students, and families during a challenging school year. With that being said, I truly believe that we are ‘better together’ and look forward to the laughter, joy, learning, and connection that will be felt within our schools this fall.”