D203 Board Gives Superintendent Return to Learn Plan Authority

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Board Approves Resolution

At tonight’s meeting, the District 203 school board of education approved a resolution giving Superintendent Dan Bridges and his administration the authority to change, update, implement, etc. the Return to Learn plan going forward.

The superintendent will consult the board, but the final decisions will be up to him and his administration.

“I believe our superintendent and his team will continue to revise when necessary according to guidance and that we are able to make that delegation in good trust, understanding that our superintendent and his team will continue to meet the needs of our students,” said school board of education president Kristen Fitzgerald at the meeting. “And that if not, we as a board will hold accountable and we will end up making the revisions necessary to ensure that all our students have the progress that they need.”

While all the board members agreed with the resolution, board member Paul Leong did not.

“I think this resolution grants too much trust to the superintendent,” said Leong at the meeting. “I know I’m going to lose this vote and that’s part of it, and I will support the resolution after the votes have been cast.”

The board notes the situation is fluid due to COVID-19. The board said they want to avoid having to revote every time something changes with COVID-19 guidance. This resolution takes care of this need.

The resolution was suggested and passed by the board.

Return to Learn Plan

The board also discussed these fluid changes. On August 13, the Illinois Department of Public Health stated anyone in a school must wear a mask at all times including in closed classrooms or office space. Then on August 17, the Illinois State Board of Education announced that teachers and staff who are alone in their classroom or offices should be allowed to remove face coverings if alone and the doors are closed.

Bridges also mentioned another difficult situation would be the new expectations regarding COVID-19 symptoms based on guidance:

  • Updated guidance indicates that students and staff sent home or remaining home with COVID-like symptoms need to be tested and should remain home from school until they receive test results.
  • If a student is sent home with suspected symptoms other siblings and household members must be sent home and quarantined for 14 calendar days.

Bridges said this is one reason why the district believes they should start the school year remotely and move into full in-person learning in stages.

Other Key Points

  • Faculty and staff members will intermittently work from assigned buildings in Stage 1.
  • Childcare Services: the district is in talks with the Naperville Park District to provide a day camp during school hours for elementary school students. They are also talking to the Alive Center for middle school students. District 203 has partnered with the YMCA and Champions to provide childcare services for elementary school students. YMCA and Champions staff will be supervising students in District 203 elementary school buildings.
  • The district still plans on working to bring Special Education/IEP students to in-person learning in Stage 1.
  • Virtual curriculum nights, open houses, and parent-teacher conferences are being planned.