At the June 11 District 91 school board meeting, Superintendent Lou Cavallo provided some insight on what school might look like come fall.
Although the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) gave guidelines on holding summer school in person, Cavallo said there wasn’t enough time for D91 to implement those plans and it would be holding summer school remotely. Still, the instructions, he said, allowed the district to get a sneak peek at what fall learning could be like.
Cavallo said come fall, D91 might be reopening for students in a way that’s different than other districts, because the number of children and schools varies substantially from district to district.
“We believe that we can have in-person learning,” said Cavallo.
Cavallo said the specifics would be determined on whether Illinois is in phase three or four of the Restore Illinois plan by the time school starts up again, but there are a few things that students and families can likely expect.
The level of cleanliness and disinfecting will be higher than before and will include disinfecting through the day as well at night when the school is closed for the day. Teachers will be part of the daily disinfecting and will be taught proper protocol for in-class cleaning.
“Face masks will be required no matter what phase we’re in,” said Cavallo. He suggested practicing with kids now, over the summer, to get them used to wearing a face covering all day.
Additionally, Cavallo said the schools will most likely be checking students’ temperatures upon arrival.
There will probably be no public transportation of children, he said, so parents will most likely be expected to get their children to school without the help of district buses.
“There are many things still unknown, but we have scenarios in place,” said Cavallo.
Most of those scenarios include reduced personal interaction between students, as desks will have to be properly spaced. Playgrounds won’t be utilized, or if they are, children can’t play in close proximity to one another. There will be no moving from desk to desk or room to room. And there will probably be no group work.
Board member Eric Connor said he’s skeptical of kids sitting still wearing masks. “It’s the antithesis of everything where we’ve been heading in the educational system.”
Cavallo agreed. “I think it’s horrible,” he said. “It’s not the way we want to educate our kids, but it might be the way we have to go.”
Board president Kyra Tyler suggested there should be a walk-through for families before school opens in the fall, letting them know – and see – specifically how things will look and what the expectations are. Video tours are another option the district will explore.
Cavallo said he expects more detailed direction from the IDPH and the ISBE this week.