District 203 Announces Return to Learn 2.0

Return to Learn 2.0
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Return to Learn 2.0

Naperville School District 203 administration presented their updated plan to return to school, Return to Learn 2.0 at tonight’s District 203 Board of Education meeting.

“When we set this up we really did approach it from how do we make sure we don’t have to go back as much as possible? And if we had started in hybrid and something happened and we had to go to remote a couple of weeks in, that’s loss that we’re trying to mitigate,” said Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Christine Igoe. “So by being slow and deliberate, and carefully bringing kids back into school we’re hoping to mitigate the spread of the virus, therefore keeping kids in school and mitigating the loss that they’ve all experienced.”

The district also took into consideration guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other local agencies.

The school year will start on September 1 with a full online start. Superintendent Dan Bridges said this time will allow for staff to understand how to respond if someone tests positive for COVID-19, prepare staff for protocols and procedures for each individual space, support staff in their return to work, allow teachers to enter buildings first to learn how health and safety guidelines will be implemented in their classrooms, and have time to teach students new routines and regulations before they enter classrooms.

Four Stages

The school administration has divided the plan into four stages.

Stage 1

Students participate in learning through an online environment with set schedules. There will be at least five hours of daily learning, which includes both synchronous and asynchronous learning. New guidance that came out said there needs to be at least two and a half hours of live instruction each school day. Teachers will be taking attendance.

In-person instruction will gradually begin for students in specialized classrooms and those in the Special Needs program. District administration said these students are the priority and could be the exception to going back to in-person learning during stage 1.

The group also talked about giving students transitioning from grade levels (for example early childhood to kindergarten or fifth grade to sixth grade, etc.) a chance to come into school buildings to assimilate themselves so they know where everything is.

Students who need to take the SAT (September) and PSAT (October) will be able to do so in school buildings.

Stage 2

Students participate in learning through an online environment with set schedules. Small groups of students can begin to come into school for in-person learning. This applies to hands-on labs, drivers education, and students who might need more teacher support.

Stage 3

Students spend a balanced amount of time in an e-Learning model and in-person instruction. The district will transition into their hybrid model with 50 percent of students attending in-person learning daily. Students will attend school Tuesday through Friday, while Monday remains online.

District administration said they don’t anticipate having enough space for lunch at the middle and high school levels, which could possibly result in shortening hybrid days. This decision is not final yet.

Stage 4

Students return to full in-person learning and e-Learning will be discontinued.

Families who already signed up for Online Academy can choose to remain in e-Learning only in stages 1-3. These students who already signed up will automatically be enrolled back into their original schedules and programs.

Sample Schedules

Here are the sample schedules for all school grade levels.

Bridges said the these schedules are just a sample. Teachers can decide if they want to spend more time teaching live and may adjust accordingly.

Special Education

All students with an IEP will receive special education and related services regardless of the learning model. IEP teams will consider the individual needs of each student, progress during e-Learning, input and feedback from family members, and overall progress towards IEP goals to make recommendations for how to best provide IEP services within the learning environment.

They will have five hours of instruction/learning activities. More information can be found here

English Learners

English Language Services English Learners will receive state-mandated support from a qualified EL/bilingual teacher in all stages of the Return to Learn Plan. The EL/bilingual teacher will work in collaboration with the grade level or content teacher to ensure that English Learners can engage meaningfully in content instruction as well as develop English language proficiency. How much time is spent with the EL/bilingual teacher will depend on students’ levels of English language proficiency.

Child Care Options

The district said they have partnered with YMCA and Champions to provide on-site child care for elementary students. Parents can utilize these options from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and add on 2:30 to 6 p.m. if needed. During school hour times, students in the same grade levels will be grouped together.

The district said YMCA and Champions staff will be there to provide assistance, but are not playing the role of a teacher. District 203 will provide some professional learning to staff so they have an idea of what the curriculum will look like.

Families can identify if they need financial assistance through the registration process. The facilities also provide some scholarships and the district is looking at other agencies that can help as well.

Child care options for junior high students was not a part of their plans, but school administration said they will look into some options. They are still working out logistics for transportation to the facilities.


All Naperville 203 transportation services will follow the procedures and expectations outlined below that align with ISBE, IDPH and DCHD guidelines and will be updated as needed. When students return to school and transportation is provided, the following guidelines will be followed:

  • All individuals on a bus must wear a face covering, including the bus driver.
  • Bus routes will be organized to ensure no more than 50 individuals are on the bus at a times.
  • Bus stops will be assigned to allow for social distancing, to the greatest extent possible.
  • All students will have assigned seats. Students from the same household will be asked to share seats whenever possible. There may be times a student would need to share a seat with someone outside of their household.
  • Students and staff must certify that they are symptom free before boarding the bus.
  • Whenever possible, windows should be open.
  • The bus will be clean and sanitized after each route.
  • Visual cues will be provided to help students manage social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • All bus drivers and assistants will utilize appropriate PPE when riding the bus.

Other Important Points

  • Staff and students will need to self-certify that they are not experiencing any symptoms and do not have a fever each day. The district will be sure to maintain their PPE inventory.
  • Face coverings will be required for all district staff members, students, and visitors over the age of two who are present in any district building, utilizing school bus or other district vehicle, and when outside on school grounds, when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Aramark will continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students who need it.
  • The district said they will be able to run most of the courses.
  • School psychologists, social workers, and counselors will be available for students.
  • Extracurricular sports will follow IHSA guidance.

2020-2021 School Calendar

Since the first day of school has been pushed to September 1, the first semester will end on January 22. There will still be Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. School principals are still working out the winter holiday.

The last day of school has also been pushed to June 10. You can find the updated calendar here.

Bridges reminds the community that plans can change with updated guidance. For parents who have more questions, the district said contacting school principals is the best way to receive feedback.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.