After announcing an in-person-only plan for schools on July 6, District 91 Superintendent Lou Cavallo on July 20 reversed course, stating that students will be offered only remote learning until at least Oct. 30.

In a July 20 communication, Cavallo stated that after releasing the original plan, “parents and staff expressed a great deal of apprehension about returning to school.” He shared that apprehension but was confident the health and safety protocols provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health “were necessary conditions to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“It is clear, however, that a great number of people are uncomfortable with returning to school for in-person instruction in the fall. It is also clear that conditions are changing rapidly throughout the United States and in Illinois. There is speculation that if cases continue to rise, we may end up back in Phase III and will be required to provide remote learning instead of in-person. I have no way of knowing at this time if that will happen.”

In order to make sure a plan that won’t change is in place, Cavallo and the FPTA agreed to “take a few steps back.” School will begin with remote learning until at least the end of October. At midterm, data and IDPH guidance will be evaluated to make a decision for the rest of the school year.

Cavallo said “remote learning will look different than it did this past spring as we have had ample time to plan for much better remote learning.” Currently, a D91 team is working on the plan, expecting guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education on remote learning and essential standards by the end of the month.

A few key points from the district are:

  • Wi-Fi “hot spots” will be available to those in need of remote access
  • Real-time daily live instruction with teachers will be part of remote learning
  • Breakout groups for small differentiated student groups will be included
  • Attendance and grading requirements will be in place
  • Material and supply packets will be distributed to students to provide necessary learning tools
  • All subjects will be taught during the school year

D91 will cover the cost of child care run by the YMCA at Grant-White School so, said the memo, there will be “a safe place for children in our buildings with adults who can assist with remote learning.” Registration information will be sent as soon as it is available.