See Superintendent Julie Schmidt's Aug. 4 presentation to the Board of Education regarding the rationale for return to school in Enhanced Full Remote Learning.

See District 96 Administrators' Aug. 7 response to community members' questions about the rationale for and implementation of full remote learning.

Enhanced Remote Learning Frequently Asked Questions – 7.30.20

•What is the rationale for Enhanced Remote Learning?

This was a difficult decision to make knowing the impact it will have on families, students, and our faculty and staff. Because this decision is significant, it is important to share with you our rationale and why we believe starting the year in the Remote Learning model is the best option at this time for our students, faculty, and staff.

Student, Faculty, and Staff Health and Safety

As you would expect, our first and most important priority in making a decision about the start of the school year has been the health and safety of all members of our District 96 community. We currently have students, faculty and staff members who have been directly affected by the realities of this virus. 

We know that if we return to in-person instruction, students, faculty and /or staff members will likely become infected at school. Given these circumstances, we simply do not feel comfortable putting our students, faculty, and staff in an environment that might compromise their health or the health of their family members at home. 
 
What does the current health data (7/28/2020) indicate?
    Lake County is located in Region 9 of the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan.  Recent data trends for Region 9 are as follows.
    Positivity Threshold: 8%
    Positivity Rates Region 9:  have risen from 3.2% to 5.3% over 10 days
    Trajectory:  If the trend continues we will be at 8.7% by August 24

The Health Department has provided some additional data that we have been using that they are tracking with us by zip code. 
    Positivity Threshold:  8%
    Positivity Rate 60089 (Buffalo Grove):  13.2%
    Prevalence Per 10,000 Residents:  218.6
    Positivity Rate 60047 (Long Grove):  7.3%
    Prevalence Per 10,000 Residents:  142.6

These trends significantly diminish our level of confidence regarding opening safely and being able to remain open.

Beyond the obvious concerns about infection of students, faculty, or staff, the quarantine and contact tracing procedures we have received from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Lake County Health Department (LCHD) make it very clear that we could potentially have many students, faculty, and staff members quarantined for up to 14 days at various points throughout the fall. 
 
These guidelines will have a significant effect on an in-person school day. There will be frequent interruptions and shutdowns, with potentially many students, faculty, and staff members being quarantined at various points throughout the year. This continual interruption will have a serious and negative impact on our ability to provide students with a consistent high-quality learning experience. Whatever benefit there may have been to having students in school for two days a week will be quickly negated when they and their teachers will need to be quarantined for 10-14 days at home one or more times as we start the year and when flu season starts in the fall.

We have been advised that we will have positive cases when returning to in-person learning. The updated Illinois Department of Public Health Guidance stipulates that schools must adhere to the following procedures when symptoms are exhibited and cases emerge.
Step 1:
You must send home or deny entry if ANY one of the following symptoms are present:

    Fever (100.4 or higher)
    Fatigue
    Muscle or body aches
    Headache
    Shortness of breath
    Cough    
    Sore throat
    Congestion or runny nose
    New loss of sense of taste or smell
    Nausea
    Vomiting
    Diarrhea
    Abdominal pain

Step 2:
If the person has been clinically evaluated by a healthcare provider?

Yes:  
Tested positive = stay at home at least 10 days from onset of symptoms AND for 24 hours with no fever (without fever reducing medication) AND improvement of other symptoms (whichever is longer)
Alternate Diagnosis:  Follow providers directions–physician's note needed for re-entry

No:    
If any of the symptoms are present, must stay at home for 10 days from onset AND 24 hours with no fever (whichever is longer).   Testing for COVID is recommended.

It should be noted that contact tracing through the Lake County Health Department is an extensive process and that we have been informed that the average turnaround time for results is currently 7 days.


Contact Tracing / Close Contact

“Close contact” is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes cumulatively starting  from 2 days before the illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. 
*ANYONE WHO IS DEEMED TO HAVE HAD CLOSE CONTACT MUST QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF LAST CLOSE CONTACT.

In-Person Model Realities

The health and safety of our students and staff coupled with the desire to ensure that our students have the highest quality learning experience possible has led us to the Enhanced Remote Learning option as the best option for all. 

We have studied at considerable length ISBE and the IDPH guidance. We have also reviewed this guidance with our legal counsel and liability insurance provider, and both teams have made it absolutely clear we cannot and should not take shortcuts or ignore the official school reopening guidelines. In addition to requiring face masks and limiting gatherings to 50 people or fewer, ISBE guidance makes it clear that schools should implement social distancing (6 feet or greater) to protect students and adults from viral transmission.  These guidelines pose significant challenges in schools–even if we reduce the number of students attending school at one time. The blended approach would require that students  attend in-person for some portion of a school day and/or potentially only on certain days of the week.
 
As we began our planning for this type of model, we discovered that with strict adherence to the safety protocols, we would not be able to provide the depth of instruction we would be able to provide with a full remote model given inevitable disruptions due to exclusions, isolation, and quarantine requirements.  An enhanced remote learning schedule would allow students to connect with their teachers and classmates daily, provide the opportunity to address all subject standards fully, and allow us to provide the depth of instruction necessary to teach all standards. We strongly believe that our Enhanced Remote Learning model is the best option for keeping students on track academically.

A full presentation outlining the decision-making process will be made to the Board of Education at its Aug. 4 meeting. On the morning of Aug. 5, a recording of that presentation will be shared with the community. With that communication, you will receive a link that will allow you to submit questions that will be answered via a recorded response given by members of the administration.  

What metrics will be used to determine when in-person learning is safe for students and staff?

The Lake County Health Department has worked with school districts to begin to develop a zip code-specific dashboard. Important metrics will include a downward trend and stabilization in positivity rates in Region 9 and in our specific zip code areas and cases per 10,000 and 100,000 people.  When the metrics allow us to begin a slow phase into in-person learning, we will prioritize the return of our youngest students in the initial phase.

•What does Enhanced Remote Learning Mean?  

  • Students will start the school year on a remote learning schedule for all grades.
  • Classes for all students will begin on Mon., Aug. 24.
  • Metrics and data will be monitored with the Lake County Health Department every 4-6 weeks.  The first review will be on October 5th.   At that time we will examine health and safety conditions to determine if we can safely bring additional students and staff back to school in a blended model . 
  • We will facilitate a Meet the Teacher opportunity. Details will be shared with families soon. 
  • Teacher assignment and middle school student schedules will be available on Aug. 12 at 9 am.
  • Students will meet live online (synchronously) with their teachers and their classes every school day through Zoom.  Specific schedules for elementary and middle will be shared the week of Aug. 17. 
  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) removed restrictions on assessments and grades for students for the 2020-21 school year. We will return to our “pre-March 13” standard assessment and grading practices.
  • Attendance will be required 
  • We will provide virtual student services and support for students.

•Will the District be Full Remote for the entire school year?

We will be monitoring metrics with the Lake County Health Department every 4-6 weeks to determine whether it makes sense, from a safety and health protocol perspective, to begin a phase-in approach to in-person learning. Metrics will include the Region 9 and Lake County positivity rates and cases per 100,000 people. Our goal is to begin to phase students in as soon as we are able. If our region moves to Phase 5, all students and staff will resume in-person learning.

•How will the District support parents in meeting the challenges of remote learning for their children?

District personnel will be available to assist families with needs that will arise. Support will be available for technology needs, social emotional needs, and learning needs. Information regarding who to contact for each area of need will be made available. 

•Are there options for families in dire need of access to a safe remote learning environment outside of their home?

We are working with the Buffalo Grove Park District to design such an option.  This information will be available no later than August 10th.  Information regarding other private providers in our area who have availability will also be posted and available for families next week.

•How will the District address supporting children’s need for socialization?

Students will have the ability to interact with others through breakout rooms and whole class Zoom. Our Educational Services staff will by collecting information on student needs leading up to the school year in order to identify students who need social emotional support when the school year begins. Teachers will then collect additional information as the year unfolds. In addition, social emotional learning will be embedded into the curriculum. 

•Can the Middle School and Elementary schedules for remote learning be the same?

Elementary and Middle School lunches were designed to be as close together as possible. Changing the lunch times to be identical at the elementary and middle levels would compromise class schedules for both elementary and middle school and is not possible for the remainder of the day. In addition, there is limited flexibility with elementary and middle school teachers who provide instruction for multiple grade-levels. See the Teaching and Learning section below for information regarding the school day start-and-end schedule and lunch schedule.

Teaching and Learning

•What does the remote learning schedule look like?  What improvements have been made to the remote format since it was implemented in March? 

Early Childhood
-Daily Morning Message
-Daily Literacy Lesson
-Daily experiences in math, science, and social studies
-Daily live small-group instruction (fine motor, language, math, literacy, science, social studies)
-Daily synchronous instruction

Elementary
-Daily Class meeting to begin and end each day
-Daily live instruction via Zoom with the teacher for literacy, math and specials
-Asynchronous instruction for science and social studies 
-Daily live instruction in small groups 
-Opportunities for students to ask questions and interact with the teacher built into the day
-Accelerated student placements will be honored, including 5th graders traveling to middle school for math remotely. 
-Attendance taken daily
-We will return to our “pre-March 13” standard assessment and grading practices.

Middle
-Daily live instruction via Zoom for science, social studies, math, and language arts, PE, Health, Spanish, Music, Art, TASOL, Band and Orchestra.  
-Daily live FLEX period via Zoom to provide interventions, extensions and student services support. 
-Opportunities for students to ask questions and interact with the teacher built into the day
-Accelerated student placements will be honored, including students who typically travel to Stevenson High School for math. They will receive math instruction from a SHS teacher remotely. 
-Attendance taken daily
-We will return to our “pre-March 13” standard assessment and grading practices.

•How often will my child be engaged in synchronous learning?  

Based on the schedules above, elementary and middle school students will be engaged in synchronous learning for the majority of their school day. 

•What happens if my child falls behind? What kind of support will my child receive in that case?

Teachers will continue to provide small group and one-on-one instruction as part of the school day.  In addition, office hours will be available for students to ask specific questions. As always, families are encouraged to reach out to the classroom teacher for specific academic concerns.  

•What will the grading policy look like?

In the spring, we followed Governor Pritzker’s “hold harmless” policy under which student scores/placement could not be affected by anything that happened during remote learning. 

With this fall’s remote learning, we will be returning to our grading policy as it existed prior to closure in March 2020. Expectations surrounding work completion by students and teacher scoring and feedback processes will continue as if school were in session full-time.

•How will classroom assessments work?

While teachers will be assessing student mastery of grade-level standards throughout remote learning, there will be a concentration on formative feedback to ensure that students are progressing throughout the time they are receiving remote instruction.  Teachers will continue to give student assessments and will provide protocols for test administration to ensure as secure a testing environment as possible. 

•How will this impact MAP and other testing?

NWEA MAP has created a process for remote administration of the MAP assessment. The District will send more information early in the school year concerning assessment schedules and administration protocols.

Additionally, students may be asked to take other benchmark or progress monitoring testing in a remote fashion. If this is required of your student, school staff will reach out with the appropriate information.

There is no information concerning the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) at this time.

•What will remote learning class sizes be?

We are keeping remote class sizes as close as possible to our target ranges of 20-23 students for grades K-2, 22-25 for grades 3-5 and 24-27 for grades 6-8. We will do our best to adhere to these ranges, but class sizes may be slightly larger than the high end of the range.  

•Will teachers be available to assist students with questions during the school day? 

Yes, teachers will provide office hours, interact with students in small groups and may be available to assist students during some of the asynchronous learning portions of the school day.  

•Will grade-level schedules be similar across the District to accommodate “pod” learning?

All elementary students will have lunch at the same time of the day.  Middle school student lunches may overlap with the elementary lunch time, but will not occur during the exact timeframe as elementary.  Elementary teachers at the same grade-level will be following the same schedules and will collaborate to deliver instruction that is consistent from teacher to teacher, but we will not be able to ensure that all grade-levels are on the same exact schedule.  Master schedules must allow for specialists to “push in” to sessions to provide additional support such as language development, speech and language, instructional coaching, etc.  

•What effect will a fully remote schedule have on aides?

Aides will be assigned to support remote learning classrooms in a variety of ways including monitoring attendance, supporting and monitoring student engagement, and providing other necessary services. Some support staff may report in person.

Kindergarten

•How is AM/PM kindergarten assigned to students?

Geographic locations will determine assignments for in-person learning, due to transportation requirements. To provide continuity of services when we transition into in-person learning, we are assigning students AM/PM remote learning times based on geographic location. AM/PM assignments will remain consistent throughout the school year, regardless of remote or in-person learning.

•When will we know our AM/PM assignment?

Families will receive their assignment on Monday, August 3, via email.

•May I make a request for AM/PM based on my circumstances, needs for childcare, etc.?  May I provide transportation and request that my child’s AM/PM assignment be different from the District assignment?  

No, the assignments are final, due to transportation requirements when returning to in-person learning, the creation of balanced classes, and the scheduling of educational services for all students.  Also,  the AM/PM assignments are assigned by geographical area to support regional childcare and supervision.

Services:  Special Education, Language, and Other 

•What if my child has an IEP?

Your child will receive the services allocated within his/her IEP.  Families who have a child in a Structured Learning Classroom, Individual Learning Community, Blended Preschool with an IEP, or Guided Classroom will receive in-person instruction unless families choose to be full remote.  Services in these circumstances will be provided remotely. The Special Education Department will be in touch with you about these schedules.  

A team member from your child’s educational team will reach out to you during the week of August 17 with a schedule and more specifics around what your student’s day will look like.
 
All other Special Education services will be provided remotely and will be given in a synchronous model with asynchronous work embedded at times.  

If you have questions around any of the above programs, please reach out to the Special Education Department.

Director of Special Education:
Mrs. Jennifer Dunne, [email protected]

Coordinator of Structured Learning and Guided Classrooms:
Mrs. Laura Fine, [email protected] 

Coordinator of Individual Learning Community and Blended Preschool:
Mrs. Elizabeth Burgess, [email protected]

•What if my child has a 504? 

Your child will receive the accommodations and supports listed in the 504 plan. These will be provided through remote learning embedded into both synchronous and asynchronous learning. 

If you have specific questions about your child’s 504, please reach out to your building administrator or Amy Gluck, Director of Educational Services.

•How will counseling services be provided?  Parents are afraid that kids will struggle in the absence of a social structure. Will school counselors/social workers follow up with the struggling kids?

The week prior to the student start of school, parents of students in grades K–3 and students grades 4–8 will receive a Google survey to complete. This will give the classroom teacher information about how the child is currently feeling social emotionally. These surveys should be completed using the student's KCSD account and will be returned directly to the child's teacher. Staff will review responses to know if social workers and/or counselors may need to follow up with a specific student for further discussion and possible intervention or services. 
 
In addition, teachers will  be surveying students and parents on a consistent basis throughout the year to determine whether further intervention is needed. 
 
Counselors and social workers will be regularly working with classroom teachers on recognizing and supporting social emotional needs of students. Students who receive counseling or social work support on a regular basis will continue to receive these supports as developed prior to the pandemic. 
 

•My student is not yet proficient in English.  What type of support will be provided?   

When our students are registered for school, parents fill out a Home Language Survey (HLS).  All students that experience a language other than English in the home will have their English proficiency tested by our Language Development Coaches.  Based on the results of this assessment, supports will be designed for our students tailored to their individual needs if qualifying.  Language Development Coaches (LDCs) will work with designated teachers and students to ensure access to content and English Language Growth for our students. 

Extracurricular

•Will there be after-school activities offered remotely?

Yes, there will be after-school clubs and activities offered remotely. You will receive more information on these opportunities from your individual school when the school year begins.

•Will sports be offered in person?

The following was issued by the IESA.

"After much discussion, the Board unanimously approved to cancel the regular season and IESA state series in the sports of boys and girls golf, boys baseball, girls softball, and boys and girls cross-country for the 2020-21 school year. There are no plans to try to reschedule the activities or conduct them later in the school year, in part due to if and when high schools in Illinois play their contests. Girls softball practice was scheduled to start July 27. The baseball and cross-country seasons were scheduled to start August 3. The Board delayed any decision on girls basketball. The first day of girls basketball practice is scheduled for August 31. The Board will meet again in late August to make a decision regarding girls basketball. The Board did review and approve a plan submitted by the Speech Advisory Committee that allows schools to hold their own speech contest during the upcoming school year. Schools that participate in speech will receive information at a later date. No decisions regarding any other activities were made."

Technology-Related Questions

•My student is new to the District:  How do I get my student’s iPad?

Principals will be sending out communication to parents about resource and technology pick-ups. Pick-up will take place at your student’s designated school. 

•What do we do if we need technology support with our school-issued iPad?

If you experience any technical difficulties during remote learning days, please email our technology support team directly at [email protected]. Students in grades 4-8 may also email this address for support via their school email account. The team will do their best to get back to you promptly. Thank you for your patience!

•What do I do if my student’s iPad or Logitech Crayon breaks or stops working during the school year?

First, make sure you submit a helpdesk ticket by emailing the technology department at [email protected] We cannot process a replacement without this submitted request. Once we receive your request, we may ask you to perform a few troubleshooting steps in order to confirm the issue(s) you are experiencing. If it is determined that a replacement device is necessary, we will work with you to schedule a time for you to drop off and pick up a replacement device. Please note that replacement devices are given at the discretion of the D96 Technology Department and that we require the broken device(s) be returned to the district before a replacement can be processed.  See the District 96 iPad and Accessory Damage Policy in the link below. 

District 96 iPad & Accessory Damage Policy       (Spanish Version)

•What do I do if my student’s iPad charging brick or charging cable breaks or is no longer working?

First, make sure you submit a helpdesk ticket by emailing the technology department at [email protected]. We cannot process a replacement for these accessories without this submitted request. Once we receive your request, we may ask you to perform a few troubleshooting steps in order to confirm the issue(s) you are experiencing. If it is determined that a replacement is necessary, we will work with you to schedule a time for you to drop off and pick up a replacement accessory. Please note that replacement accessories are given at the discretion of the D96 Technology Department and that we require the broken accessories be returned to the district before a replacement can be processed. See the District 96 iPad and Accessory Damage Policy in the link below. 

District 96 iPad & Accessory Damage Policy        (Spanish Version)

•My student is returning to the District and their iPad or Logitech Crayon from last year is broken or unusable.  How do I get it fixed or replaced?

Fill out this form to let the Technology Department know the status of your existing device so they can prepare replacements before the start of school as best they can.

•I don’t have internet access at home. Does the district offer anything that can help us get connected to the internet so my student(s) can do their school work?

Please submit a helpdesk ticket requesting support with internet access by emailing the technology department at [email protected]. Once we have your request we will reach out to you to gather more information to see if we can help.

See Superintendent Schmidt's message to the community announcing Enhanced Full Remote Learning.