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Harlem School District 122 announces fall reopening plans

The school district received guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education on Monday.
(WIFR)
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 1:30 PM CDT
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HARLEM, Ill. (WIFR) - The Harlem School District 122 announced their fall reopening plans.

The school district received guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education on Monday.

“Appropriate social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitation measures, and other accommodations will be necessary to ensure the safety of students, staff, and their families. During Phase 4, IDPH guidelines will:

  • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
  • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
  • Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
  • Require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection.

The Illinois State Board of Education released the following minimum public health requirements that all schools must meet as they create local reopening plans in Phase 4. The guidance advised the following:

  • In-person instruction is highly encouraged.
  • Districts must prepare an alternative option for students with elevated health risks.
  • Districts must plan for return to remote instruction pending a resurgence or second wave of the virus.

All public schools and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving prekindergarten through 12th grade students must follow these guidelines.

Learning Options for 2020-2021

Option 1: In-Person Instruction

Based on feedback from staff and families, we are recommending a specific in-person learning plan for early childhood, elementary, middle and high school. If you find that in-person instruction does not work for your family, you may switch to remote learning at any time; however, your student may have a different teacher.

Option 2: Remote Learning

We know that in-person instruction is not an option for some of our students with elevated health risks, or who have family members with elevated health risks. Any families who do not feel comfortable having their children attend school in person are not required to do so. Your students will be provided online instruction. Families that choose remote learning will remain in remote learning for the first semester and may switch to in-person instruction starting the second semester (following winter break).

Option 1: In-Person Instruction

Early Childhood Education: 5 Half Days Per Week of In-Person Learning (AM session 7:50-10:30 or p.m. session 12 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.)

Elementary (K-6): 5 Full Days Per Week of In-Person Learning (7:50 a.m. - 2:35 p.m.)

Middle School: Blended Learning Model*

  • Two days per week of in-person instruction and three days per week of remote learning. Approximately half of the students will attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other half will attend on Wednesdays and Fridays.

High School: Blended Learning Model*

  • Two days per week of in-person instruction and three days per week of remote learning. Approximately half of the students will attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other half will attend on Wednesdays and Fridays.

*Any student who receives English language or special education services will have the option to attend in-person instruction daily.

Arrival

  • Arrival and dismissal procedures will be set at each school. More information on updated procedures will be sent by your school principal prior to the start of the school year.
  • All students, employees and visitors will be required to complete the District 122 COVID-19 Symptom and Temperature Screening each day.
  • Face masks will be mandatory for all students, employees and visitors, unless a medical contraindication is verified by a physician, the individual is under age 2, the individual is having difficulty breathing, or the individual is unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Classrooms

  • Classroom seating will be configured with maximum allowable space between students with all desks facing the same direction. The District is making every effort to reduce the number of students in classrooms, but in some cases the maximum allowable space between desks may only be 3 or 4 feet.
  • Elementary schedules will be developed in a way that will limit student movement throughout the day.
  • Middle school and high school students will participate in a block schedule in order to reduce transitions and student contact throughout the school day.
  • Employees will modify instructional plans to reduce student contact, sharing of materials or equipment and maintain appropriate social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Class sizes will depend on student enrollment numbers, but effort will be made to reduce class sizes to the greatest extent possible.
  • No classes will have more than 50 individuals in one space at one time, including PE, band, etc.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increased cleaning and sanitation measures are taking place in every building and will continue throughout the school year.
  • Employees will be provided with disinfectant to clean and sanitize touched or shared objects throughout the day.
  • Students and staff will be required to disinfect/wash hands before and after the use of shared materials or supplies.
  • Any area used by a sick individual will be closed for use until it has been disinfected and sanitized.
  • Increased cleaning protocol has been implemented and will include deep cleaning of the classrooms daily by the custodial staff. Bus drivers will deep clean buses between routes daily.
  • The District will purchase air purifiers with HEPA filters for the classrooms (pending board approval), along with upgrading HVAC filters.

Hallways

  • Limits will be placed on the number of students allowed in a hallway at one time.
  • Restroom procedures will be established at each school to limit the number of students transitioning in the hallway and in restrooms at one time.
  • The use of lockers will be suspended. Students will be allowed to carry a backpack with them.

Lunch

  • Students will be allowed to remove masks when eating or drinking.
  • Locations and spacing of students will be arranged to stay under the 50-person threshold. Elementary students will most likely eat in their classroom. Middle School and High School students may be assigned to the cafeteria or a classroom in order to maintain capacity limits.

Other Activities

  • The District will continue to follow guidance from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA).
  • At this time, field trips, assemblies and other large gatherings will not be allowed.
  • Family learning nights, open houses and back to school activities will in most cases be virtual. However, schools will provide opportunities for students that are new to the building to tour the building before school starts.
  • The District is working with the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA to continue to provide after-care for students. Currently, the YMCA is evaluating our before-care options.
  • 6th Grade Band will not be offered for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Driver’s education behind-the-wheel training will occur in compliance with all Secretary of State and IDPH safety requirements. At this time, students must wear a mask while participating in behind-the-wheel training. Driver’s education will be available to both students who chose remote learning or in-person learning.

Recess (Elementary)

  • Face masks are not required outside if 6 feet of distance is maintained at all times.
  • Limits will be placed on the number of students on playground equipment at one time.
  • No more than 50 students may congregate in one section of a play area at a time.
  • Students will wash/sanitize their hands before and after using playground equipment.

Transportation

  • Routes will be created with a maximum number of 50 students on each bus.
  • Students from the same household will be assigned seats together.
  • Buses will be sprayed with an electrostatic cleaner between routes.

Visitors

  • Limits will be placed on nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities with external groups.
  • Essential visitors will be required to sign a District 122 COVID-19 Symptom and Temperature Screening Log. This will also be used should contact tracing be necessary.
  • Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear masks and will be restricted in their access to the building as a whole.
  • When appropriate, visitors should schedule an appointment before arriving at the school.
  • Visitors who remain in the entry vestibule (for example, visitors needing to pick up a student or materials), will not be required to complete the District 122 COVID-19 Screening and Temperature Log.

Option 2: Remote Learning Only

  • Remote learning is available for any District 122 student with health and safety concerns, elevated health risks, or a family member with elevated health risks.
  • Students will be assigned to virtual classrooms with students in their grade level from schools across the district.
  • Average class sizes will be used when creating virtual learning classes.
  • Teachers will lead these classes, but your child's teacher may not be from their school.
  • Teachers will have a daily presence through Google Meet, Google Classroom, and/or Seesaw.
  • Remote Learning days will include five instructional hours and will follow the District’s curriculum, using a balance of textbooks/workbooks and digital instruction. Early Childhood will be approximately 2.5 hours of instruction.
  • Daily and weekly social-emotional learning lessons will be embedded in the curriculum to support the unique needs students are facing during this pandemic.
  • Teachers will focus on creating relationships and connections.
  • Dates will be set for supply pickup, so that students can receive any technology, textbooks/workbooks and other supplies necessary to engage in virtual learning.
  • Families who choose remote learning will commit to this learning option for a full semester.
  • Grading practices will be the same as in-person instruction. The District will follow the guidance of the Illinois State Board of Education in regards to grading during remote learning. Students in remote learning will receive traditional grades.

Student Support Services

  • Students receiving special education and English Language services will be allowed to attend in-person instruction daily.
  • Individual accommodations will be implemented where necessary to support students’ individual needs for students with IEPs, 504s, and/or English Language service.
  • Individual Learning Plans will be developed for any student with an IEP and selecting Remote Learning.
  • English Learner (EL) teachers will continue to meet with small groups of students virtually if a family selects remote learning. An English language assessment was completed in February 2020 allowing the District to correctly identify students who need support.

Health and Safety Protocols

Preventative Measures for Health & Safety

Face Coverings

  • All individuals in school buildings will be required to wear face coverings at all times unless they are younger than 2 years of age, have trouble breathing, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Students who may be unable to tolerate a face covering will need to provide a doctor’s note stating the need for face covering accommodations. Students will be provided with two washable face coverings in addition to the state provided face covering.
  • Consideration will be given to the impact of face coverings on students who suffer from respiratory disease, sensory processing sensitivity, and/or expel bodily fluids orally. Administration will ensure appropriate protective procedures are in place to ensure safety precautions are met.
  • Face Coverings must abide by the Dress Code Policy stated in the Harlem District

Hand Hygiene

  • Students will be taught proper handwashing procedures throughout the school year. This will include required hand washing built into the daily schedule. Hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes will be available in all classrooms and throughout the building.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • All staff and students will be required to utilize PPE equipment including face coverings and other PPE deemed appropriate such as gloves, sneeze guards and face shields when needed.

Social Distancing

  • According to the guidance released by the CDC and ISBE, social distancing will be implemented to the greatest extent possible when students and staff are present in the buildings.

Scheduled Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Increased cleaning protocol has been implemented and will continue throughout the school year.
  • Disinfectant will be provided to all staff so that cleaning can occur throughout the school day.
  • Shared equipment and materials will be cleaned before and after use. This will include student hand washing or hand sanitizing.
  • In the event a student or staff member becomes sick during the school day and is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms, any area or classroom that may have been used by a sick individual who is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms will be closed for use until proper sanitation has occurred.

Symptom Screenings

  • All students, employees and visitors will be required to complete the District 122 COVID-19 Symptom and Temperature Screening each day.
  • Students who display any of the following symptoms should stay home from school and seek medical advice from their treating physician.
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose in conjunction with other listed symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Per the guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education, any student with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed to attend school.
  • Students who have a fever unrelated to a positive COVID-19 test result must be fever free without the use of fever-reducing medication for 24 hours prior to returning to school.

Procedure if Someone is Suspected or Tests Positive for COVID-19

What happens if a student or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19 at school?

  • The District will contact the Winnebago County Health Department and we will follow their direction.
  • Each building will have a private supervised quarantine space for any individual experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. Any student or staff member will stay in the quarantine space until they are able to leave the building.
  • The quarantine space will be sanitized after its use and is also deep cleaned daily.
  • Administration will close any area including classrooms that an individual experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms was in close contact with in order to be sanitized. These areas can not be used until proper cleaning and sanitation take place. Once properly disinfected, the area may be re-opened for use.

What happens if my child was in close contact with a student who is suspected of having COVID-19 at school?

  • Close contact is defined by the CDC as the student was within 6 feet of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes.
  • Administration will notify students and staff deemed to be in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. This will be done through contact tracing in conjunction with the Winnebago County Health Department.
  • Students and staff who had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • Students and staff who were required to quarantine will be allowed to return to school after 14 days as long as they are symptom free.
  • Students and staff will be required to check in with the nurse upon return. These individuals will be required to have their temperature checked and will go through health screening protocol.

Making a Selection for In-Person or Remote Learning

Families must log into Skyward Family Access and select Option 1: In-Person Instruction or Option 2: Remote learning only for each of their students for the 2020-2021 school year. The selection is due by July 27, so that the District may provide the proper staffing for both programs. Please note that your selection is for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Families choosing remote-learning will have the option to change their decision for the second semester (following winter break). Families choosing in-person instruction who find that in-person instruction does not work for you and your student may switch to remote learning at any time; however, your student may have a different teacher.

  • Log into Skyward Family Access using your log-in information. Please use the forgot password option if you do not remember your credentials.
  • Next click on “Fill out the Online Form for…”
  • Select “Custom Form”
  • Fill out the required information and select “Complete Step 1 and Move to Step 2”
  • Select “Submit Instructional Model Selection” (saving the form is not the same as submitting)
  • Repeat if you have additional students”

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