Dear District 34 Parents,
In July, we shared with you that September 29 was a possible transition date from Remote+ to Hybrid. I believe that District 34 will, indeed, be well prepared to make the move to Hybrid on that date.
Our Remote+ in-person opportunities showed us that our health and safety protocols are firmly in place, and that our students, with the support and care of their teachers and staff can follow those protocols. We are grateful to families for enforcing important safety messages and establishing new routines with your children. Our GOAL families, too, have had positive experiences with the consistency and collaboration that their remote classroom communities have provided.
The in-person opportunities also showed us that masks don’t hide the happiness of students when they are with their teachers and classmates. We know that six feet of distance is not a barrier to learning or building relationships.
We have seen our neighboring elementary districts (including D27, 28, 30 and 31) successfully navigate starting their school year with various levels of in-person learning. Though D34 is different from these districts in that we are larger and more diverse, we have watched their progress, and reached out to learn from them.
If you join Monday’s virtual Board of Education meeting, you will see a presentation with details of what Hybrid will look like for each grade level, a review of the health and safety protocols that will allow us to make the move safely and an outline of the metrics that will guide any future changes. There will be Board discussion on the plan; though the Board does not need to take action, their discussion may lead to adjustments to the plan before implementation.
To provide you with some information that may help in your planning, here is an overview of our Hybrid plan at this time.
For all grades, Hybrid maximizes synchronous learning. The schedules will move to the tiered start and end times at the different grade bands to accommodate transportation. However, EC-5 GOAL classrooms will see no change in their start and end times.
On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Hybrid students will attend on the following schedules:
Early Childhood: Half days, two days (Mo/Th or Tu/Fri)
- 8:35am - 11:15am
- 12:45pm - 3:25pm
Kindergarten: Half days, two days (Mo/Th or Tu/Fri)
- Morning session: 8:45am - 11:15am
- Afternoon session: 1:10pm - 3:40pm
Primary (1-2): Half days, four days (Mo/Tu/Th/Fri)
- Morning session: 8:45am - 11:15am
- Afternoon session: 1:10pm - 3:40pm
Intermediate: Half days, four days (Mo/Tu/Th/Fri)
- Morning session: 7:45am - 10:15am
- Afternoon session: 12:10pm - 2:40pm
Middle: Full days, two days (Mo/Th or Tu/Fri) from 8:15am - 3:10pm
We will run transportation routes for all of these schedules; you will receive more information from the transportation department next week.
At all levels, Wednesdays will be fully remote (with a few exceptions for special education and EL/Bilingual students) and will include the planned one-hour late start for staff professional development and collaboration.
Grades 1-5: Four Half Days
This Hybrid schedule is changed from the original full-day plan for grades 1-5 to prioritize consistent in-person time. Students will not eat lunch at school, and the two-hour window between sessions will allow custodial staff time to clean.
- In-person instruction will focus on SEL, math and reading/English Language Arts
- The “opposite” time when remote on half days will include synchronous fine arts and asynchronous social studies and science
- Students with IEPs and who qualify for EL services will attend based on their need for specialized instruction.
Students who were previously scheduled to attend in person on Monday and Thursday will attend in the morning; those who were scheduled for Tuesday and Friday will attend in the afternoon. In some cases, principals will need to make adjustments in these placements; however, we are not able to take requests for changes.
Middle School In-Person: Two Full Days
Middle school students will have two full days of in-person learning on either Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday, as originally scheduled. You can check PowerSchool to see your child’s assignment as Mon/Thu or Tue/Fri.
Instruction to students at home and in person will come from the classroom teacher who will have the technology and training to teach in person and remote students simultaneously. In-person teachers will stream out of the classroom to remote students. Teachers whose circumstances require that they be remote will stream into the classroom and to remote students; a certified substitute or certified associate will support students in the classroom (in effect, students in these classes will have instruction and support from two teachers).
All means all In the middle schools, as we have GOAL and Hybrid students all together. This structure allows all middle school students (Remote, In-Person, GOAL) to keep a team schedule and the important relationships that are built within it. That consistency is especially important for 7th grade students who will loop with their teams and teachers to 8th grade.
Addressing Your Concerns
We do not take the risks of COVID-19 lightly, and have committed time and resources to protecting students and staff. Our health and safety protocols -- and our commitment to continually evaluating them -- are strong. We ask that you continue those important health and safety conversations with your child about the Big Three:
- Wear a mask
- Wash hands
- Keep 6 feet away from others
It is up to every member of the District 34 community to take personal responsibility for protecting ourselves and others, and for finding ways to do better. Don’t hesitate to share your observations with your building principal, with me, or with Cathy Kedjidjian.
One area where we have had improvement since July is in our ability to collect and track local COVID data. We have collaborated with the Northfield Township elementary school districts to develop a local public health dashboard that shows cases, positivity rate and youth cases in our community (rather than county-wide) and indicates when the community transmission level requires us to seek guidance from the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) to shift instructional models. I will share more about those metrics at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
We also are tracking the data in our schools, and today we launched our District COVID-19 Case Dashboard. We will update the dashboard weekly, and will send an automatic notification when it is updated. Staff members in each building have become certified in contact tracing to supplement the work of CCDPH and increase the speed at which we can determine exposure and contact those affected (“close contact” is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before illness onset. Under the new CDC definition, for example, an individual exposed to COVID-19 for only 5 minutes but three different times within a 24-hour period now falls under the definition of a “close contact.”). If your child has been in close contact with a student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be directly contacted, and will be given information on what you need to do to take care of your child.
Registration for Next Trimester
As a reminder, you can make changes to your child’s registration (moving from GOAL to Hybrid, or Hybrid to GOAL) during the open registration period for the second trimester. Registration will be open in PowerSchool from October 19-30 for a change starting November 23, the first day of Trimester 2. If you do make a change for your child in EC-5th grade, your child will be transferred (either to GOAL or his or her home school) and placed with a new teacher and new classmates.
Next week’s presentation to the Board will include details and answers to many questions. You will receive a meeting notice with information to access the Zoom meeting. In addition, we will continue to update information on our website, and look for other opportunities to share the information that you need, as clearly and quickly as possible.
The pandemic has impacted every student and every family in unique ways. It’s impacted our teachers and staff as well. I know that many of you welcome this move to Hybrid. Some of you wish it came sooner, while others have concerns about making the move at this time. We may not agree on the decision or the details, but I know that we can come together, in any environment, to focus on the whole child -- and the needs of each child.
Dane Delli, Ph.D.
Glenview School District 34