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Back to School 2020 Planning

The Sycamore administration and Board of Education continue to work diligently on how best to reopen our schools for the 2020-21 school year. Our plans are being made with necessary precautions to support the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff.

Our framework for returning safely to school will be directed by guidelines set by local and state public health officials. We expect that those guidelines will be shared with us in the coming weeks. We are reluctant to release any final plans until we receive the appropriate guidance by state and local officials. Until that time, administrators will continue to research and develop more details around the options for Back to School 2020 that have been shared with families and staff so that we are prepared for whatever option best fits those mandates and recommendations.

Back To School 2020 Planning - Phase I

Phase I of our Back to School 2020 Planning began in early May. Administrators have been meeting regularly with other local districts to work collaboratively on reopening plans. The district formed a Pandemic Planning Task Force composed of administrators in curriculum, technology, transportation, maintenance, and child nutrition. This Task Force has been digging into the potential scenarios that the upcoming school year may bring based on current guidelines. These options are laid out in this video released on June 5 in conjunction with our staff and family surveys.

Three Options Being Considered:

Option #1: Full Face-to-Face Learning

  • Students attend school five days per week
  • Precautionary measures in place
  • Masks for students and staff
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation measures
  • Online academy for students who cannot/are uncomfortable attending face-to-face
    • Possible purchase of online platform

**Assuming social distancing guidelines have been alleviated 

Option #2: Combination of Face-to-Face Learning and Remote Learning

  • Green and Gold Sessions
    • Students would attend face-to-face either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday
    • Extension activities/assignments on non-attendance days
    • Wednesday: no student attendance
      • Deep clean buildings
      • Extension activities/student check-in/teacher collaboration
  • Online academy for students who cannot/are uncomfortable attending face-to-face
    • Possible purchase of online platform

**Assuming social distancing guidelines are still in place

***Reductions in Transportation Services

Option #3: Full Remote Learning

  • Enhance delivery from Spring 2020
  • Assessment/grading practices in place
  • Adjustment of course content

Nearly 2,400 families and 570 staff members responded to the surveys which closed on June 19. Among the preliminary findings:

  • 75% of families and 66% of staff ranked full face-to-face learning as their #1 and #2 choice for the start of the school year.
  • 72% of families and 72% of staff ranked the combination of face-to-face and remote learning as their #1 or #2 choice for the start of the school year.
  • The least preferred option among families and staff was remote learning.
  • There is strong support among families and staff for utilizing masks, handwashing, and frequent cleaning.
  • A high percentage of families and staff are supportive of social distancing guidelines in classrooms and on buses.

Back to School 2020 Planning - Phase II

The Pandemic Planning Task Force will continue to dig into the data collected through our surveys to inform decisions as the district moves into Phase II of our Back to School 2020 Planning. We continue to work on the specifics for all three options as we wait for state and local guidance. This includes providing an online academy for students who prefer or need to continue their education remotely. 

You may hear about the myriad of different draft plans and options that are being considered in school districts across our region on social media and in the news. Different counties are rolling out their plans at different times. After we receive the new guidelines from state and local officials, the district will share which option we will be moving forward with for the start of the school year. 

We are committed to creating a plan that will be best for the education, health, and safety of all of our students and staff, but recognize that not everyone will be comfortable with whatever decision is made. We will communicate our plan with you as soon as possible so that families and staff have plenty of time to prepare for the start of the year. In the meantime, continue to check our website, social media (FacebookTwitter), and your primary email account for the latest updates.