August 1, 2020
Dear District 50 Parents and Guardians,
Throughout the summer, District 50 Administrators and Staff closely monitored the guidance given to school districts by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Restore Illinois Plan. Our hope all along was to find a way for our students and staff to be reunited back in our schools. That goal has proven to be very challenging.
Multiple groups collaborated to design this Return to Learn Plan that fits the needs of District 50. District 50 will continue to follow ISBE guidance and recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
Two important conditions were kept as priorities throughout the process:
- Keeping staff and students healthy and safe
- Providing the best and safest possible education for our students
Due to the fluid nature of the recommendations and health conditions, the type of learning delivery style offered to students may vary throughout the year. It’s anticipated that during the school year, the District may need to move back and forth between remote learning and a hybrid model. We hope to return fully to classrooms when conditions allow. Any changes to the instructional delivery model will be shared with families via email, D50 website, and social media accounts well in advance of the changes.
District 50’s Return to Learn plan respects that, despite all the safety precautions that the District will observe, some people may not feel comfortable returning to live instruction in any form if provided. Since families may be hesitant to return for any number of reasons, a 100% virtual option will be offered for the first semester.
After thousands of hours of thought and hundreds of survey responses from parents and staff, we expect to start the new school year by resuming remote learning for the first semester. Until very recently there was optimism for a hybrid model for at least some of our students, but no longer in good faith can I be certain that in-person instruction at any size can be done safely and effectively for our students and staff given current regulations and guidance.
Remote learning will be a large portion of the instructional design this year. This fall’s version of remote learning will be much different than the spring version. Instruction of new material will occur and grades will be issued. Every student will need their computer — it will be a school supply just as essential as notebook paper and a pencil. The ability to connect to WiFi is also necessary for remote learning. Keep in mind, the District can provide families WiFi hotspots for use during remote learning.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that couldn’t be more perfect for this moment:
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.
Thank you for your support, understanding, and patience. I’m confident in our students, our families, our employees, and our community. As you will see during the start of the school year, our dedication to Harvard, our students, and the District has never been stronger.
Dr. Corey Tafoya