Reactions to Return to School Plans

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Return to School Plans

Yesterday, districts 203 and 204 shared their return to school plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

Both districts will offer two options – either hybrid learning or the newly created online academy.

“The closing of schools doesn’t sit well with me so I’m glad to see they’re trying their best to follow state guidelines but at the same time stay within what the data is suggesting,” said school parent Adam Russo. “And I think they pushed it as far as they’re legally able to, so in my view that’s all you can ask of them.”

The hybrid options will blend in-person and remote learning, with students coming to school on select days of the week based on their last name.

Online academy will be a fully online school.

Response to Plans

The response to the return to school plans has been varied.

“Because of the alphabet breakup some of them won’t even see their friends during this ramp up period so that’s disappointing, said school parent Daren Gretz. “I’d like to see as soon as possible to get back to the full curriculum, even if it needs to be adjusted.”

“I feel like it’s good that we’re going back and they have a plan,” said student Juliana Russo. “It’s better than nothing, that’s what I’ve been telling myself. It could possibly get better.”

At last night’s D204 meeting, one parent shared the same thought. This was her comment before the district plans were shared.

“Frankly e-Learning was a waste of time,” said school parent Milena Stone. “I do not believe any standard that would be in place of remote learning will ever match the academic rigor of a face to face with a teacher daily in a classroom will achieve.”

Some teachers agree that getting back to the classroom is best. Recently retired teacher Mary Ann Short believes the district took the right step.

“These options allow for parents to allow their children to get back into the building, make those face to face connections, yet still do it in a way that is safe,” said Short.

Online Academy

While the district will have safety precautions in place, one parent was surprised D203’s plan doesn’t include a temperature check.

“Because it’s fairly quick and it’s no touch to do a forehead temperature. So that was a little disappointing,” said school parent Erica Bennett.

Bennett believes online academy is the best option for her son, who will start kindergarten this year.

“To think of putting the responsibility of PPE and social distancing and mask wearing and just the new social norms on my 6-year-old going to school for the first time and not being there to help control or to monitor is just a little bit much for me right now,” said Bennett.

Medical Opinion

Edward Hospital’s medical director of infection control, Jonathen Pinsky believes the districts plans are a good start.

“Right now with the numbers we have in Naperville that this plan is very reasonable. However if there were an outbreak or students who were diagnosed with COVID, they would have to adjust in that situation.”

Both districts are prepared if the state goes back to Phase 2 or 3, or can return to full-time in-person learning.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.