SCHOOLS OPENING UPDATE: Some Districts Change To 100% Remote Learning, Others Stick With In-School Options
LAST UPDATE: AUG. 8
- Editor’s Note: This article is based on searches of Kane County public school district websites and is updated weekly. Information has been changing rapidly, so be sure to click on the links provided below to find the most up-to-date information.
When will Kane County public schools open?
For several public school districts, the answer to that question has changed since last week.
This week, East Aurora School District 131 officials announced that schools will go to all-remote learning through Nov. 4, and West Aurora School District 129 will be 100% remote through Oct. 30.
Several other districts have modified their plans or changed their start dates. Scroll down for more information and links directly to school district websites for the most up-to-date information.
Here’s a summary of what we know now, via a search of school district website — but again, please click links in case the situation for your school has changed:
- East Aurora School District 131 — First day of school Aug. 24. Remote learning through Nov. 4. Learn more about the plan.
- West Aurora School District 129 — First day of school Aug. 24. Remote learning through Oct. 30. View the 2020-21 reopening plan.
- Batavia School District 101 — First day of school Aug. 19. Elementary students will be in class, middle and high school students start remotely. Read the Restore BPS101 Plan.
- Central School District 301 — First day of school Aug. 31. Alternating and remote learning schedules. Click this link to read the Reopen School plan.
- Geneva School District 304 — First day of school Aug. 19. In-person learning with A-B schedule and online-only learning option. Click this link for the Back Together page.
- Kaneland School District 302 — First day of school Aug. 20. Hybrid model of A-B days, with expanded options for remote learning. Read the Aug. 6 update.
- School District 300 — First day of school Aug. 17. Changed to all remote learning for the first quarter. Click here for the D300 Back To School Update Center.
- School District U-46 — First day of school Aug. 24. Distance Learning through Oct. 9. Click here for an update on the 2020-21 reopening plan.
- St. Charles School District 303 — First day of school Aug. 19. A-B schedule with options for remote learning. Click here for the D303 Reopening plan.
This post has been updated to include information from all Kane County public school district websites.
As always, if you are aware of updated information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Opening Information
Below is a list of Kane County public school districts as well as colleges and universities. Click on the link in each school district header to find the most recent information.
East Changes Direction — All Remote Through November
Dear East Aurora Families,
Last week when we announced our plan to open the 2020-21 school year in the “Fall 2020 Reopening
Guidance” document, I stressed that our district chose to respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic in a
manner that prioritizes health and wellness of our students and staff.
While our district has been hard at work developing a plan to reopen our school buildings, we also
knew that we needed to be flexible, as our plan is based on current public health information available
at the time. As superintendent, it is my responsibility to adjust the plan as necessary, to best support
the health and safety of our students, our staff, and our families.
Therefore today (July 31), I am announcing that all East Aurora School District 131 schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with full remote learning for the entire first quarter of the school year. This means that
hybrid instruction will not begin until Nov. 4.
This change is necessary, given that the current rate of COVID-19 cases in our local zip code is approaching twice the amount of the state of Illinois, and well over half of our parents have chosen full remote instruction.
This change is also necessary in order to meet current public health guidelines and keep all students and staff healthy. This is an extremely difficult decision, and while I know many families and staff will welcome the change, I realize others may not.
We now are preparing for high-quality, full remote learning through Nov. 4. Next week we will release updated student schedules for every grade level, from preschool through high school.
Parents and guardians, if you have not already done so, please continue to complete the attendance
choice form that has been emailed and sent via text message. Your feedback will help in our planning
for next steps.
You should also know that we are exploring additional support for your students Pre-K through fifth grade. We recognize that some families may depend on the two hybrid in-person days due to child care needs. We are working on plans to offer opportunities for distance learning child care support in-district and through program partnerships for working families.
I am confident we will provide excellent teaching and learning opportunities to our students, while
maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff.
Dr. Jennifer Norrell, Superintendent East Aurora School District 131
Kindergarten, new 1st through 5th grade iPad pick-up Aug. 17-21
For the 2020-21 school year, all students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade will use a district-issued iPad for remote learning.
For questions about the iPad pick up, please email: email@example.com
From Aug. 17-21, District 131 will be distributing iPad devices to students entering Kindergarten, and also to all 1st through fifth grade students who are new to the district. Distribution will take place at East Aurora High School, Door #15 (Main Gymnasium entrance), 500 Tomcat Lane, Aurora, IL 60505.
During this process, each student will be issued an iPad. This process should only take between 5-10 minutes per student.
For families who do not have internet access at home, we will also be issuing a wireless Hot Spot device. This device will allow the iPad to connect to the internet.
West Goes 100% Remote
Dear School District 129 Community,
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on our daily lives. The evolution of the virus will continue to define how we work, socialize, and learn for an undetermined period of time. It is my responsibility as superintendent to keep abreast of the developing situation and to respond and adapt to protect the health and safety of the children and staff members in my care.
It is with mixed emotions that I will be recommending to the West Aurora School Board that all students start the 2020-21 school year in a virtual learning environment. This is in an effort to meet current public health guidelines and keep our students and staff healthy.
Please understand that this is an extremely difficult decision and while we know many families and staff members will welcome the change, we realize many others will not.
As we look at metrics that have influenced this decision, I would offer the following:
- The recent decision by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to move “higher-risk” sports to a later date is a strong statement. If it is not safe for athletes to be in close contact for ninety minutes of outdoor practice, is it safe for them to be in close contact for five to six hours indoors during the school day?
- Also this week, the county health department disclosed that they will not have the resources to manage the contact tracing process. Without this assistance, we anticipate that we would need to exclude multiple staff members and students for a minimum of two weeks with just one potential exposure.
- Recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now states that school districts should develop routines that would prevent the frequent quarantine of students who are often ill or who have
illnesses that mirror COVID-19 symptoms. Since COVID-19 symptoms mirror those of countless other illnesses, this task would be next to impossible.
- Operational considerations that define how we separate large spaces in order to serve more students have now changed to require floor-to-ceiling physical barriers that also meet fire code. This is a difficult and expensive task given the size of our many gymnasiums and cafeterias.
- Lastly, there is a sustainability factor. Of those that completed the selection form, 40% of our elementary school families, 31% of our middle school families, and 24% of our high school families have all chosen the virtual learning model, we would need an additional 55 teachers to facilitate these sections. This number takes into consideration the collapse of several in-person sections and using
conservative figures would cost an estimated $3.3 million.
As we look ahead to the fall of 2020, I would like to propose:
- We will delay the start of school by four days. Instead of starting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, we will begin on Monday, Aug. 24.
- We will be “all-virtual” through Oct. 30.
- Teachers will be instructing in both synchronous and asynchronous modalities.
- All staff must work from their classrooms or offices.
- We will begin to slowly introduce self-contained students and other special populations back to school in early September. We plan on growing that group of identified students.
3. We will evaluate our situation in early October to execute a plan that fits the environment and conditions at that time.
- On Oct. 13, we will evaluate our situation and current conditions.
- On Oct. 23, we will finalize the most appropriate plan.
- On Nov. 2, which is the start of the second quarter, we will execute the determined plan.
We understand that with this new plan will come new questions. In an effort to be as transparent and responsive as possible, we will be clearing out our FAQs and will begin addressing new questions soon.
In closing, I want to emphasize that the virtual learning School District 129 will implement this August will not look like what it did in March. I also want to underscore that we are committed to continuing to work with families not just on academics but on the social and emotional needs of students, and we will continue to do our part to share resources related to basic needs like food security.
This experience has sharpened the important role of schools in this community on all fronts, and we look forward to opening schools physically at some point in the year, when conditions make it safe to do so.
Jeff Craig, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools West Aurora School District 129
2020/21 Reopening Plan Overview
- All students will participate in virtual learning to start the school year
- A redesigned virtual instructional approach, not the same remote learning that was used in the spring
- A traditional school calendar
- An entirely online experience and learning structure with access to collaboration tools
- Some identified IEP students will be phased to in-person instruction after Labor Day
- A mode of instruction that will not be impacted by future, more restrictive state mandates regarding COVID-19
- Students will participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning following their daily schedule
- Synchronous learning is learning that happens at the same time for the instructor and the learners, meaning that there’s real-time interaction between them. Asynchronous learning applies to tasks that students complete on their own (or in small groups), which is not being delivered by the teacher in real time.
- Full access to elective offerings, program enrollment, advance placement, and honors courses
- Access to any extra-curricular offerings in a virtual or in-person setting
Restore BPS101 Message July 21
While all indications are that we have a safe strategy in place for our students to return to school this fall, we are announcing important modifications to the Restore BPS101 plan. The reasons for these changes are:
- The complexity of creating on-site and remote schedules for students at the middle and high schools, especially given the back-to-school timeline.
- Teacher feedback that some aspects need adjustment.
We acknowledge and share the desire of the majority of parents who want their students to return to school on-site. The administration and the teacher’s union have worked together to develop these solutions, and we are confident that this is the best plan that we can offer given our current conditions.
The first day of school remains Wednesday, Aug. 19. The revisions and new details can be found on a new website for the Restore BPS101 plan. It is important to note there are now different plans for different groups of students:
- Elementary students who selected on-site learning will start the year as planned with a Crimson/Gold schedule. While our goal is for all elementary students to attend every day, the crimson/gold hybrid mode will continue after Labor Day and for the foreseeable future.
- Most middle school and high school students will begin their year remotely. Students who have previously selected remote learning will be placed in the same classes as those who chose on-site. Eventually, as local conditions and capacity allows, our goal is to bring in small groups of students for on-site blended learning opportunities that cannot be replicated remotely (special education, certain electives, etc.).
- Some students, based on special needs, will start the school year on-site, every day, in small groups. These families have already been contacted. Other students with special needs will be identified in the coming weeks to plan for their return to on-site learning.
- Pre-kindergarten students who selected on-site learning will start the year as previously communicated with a two day, five-hour schedule (M/W, T/Th) per week.
- Pre-kindergarten and elementary students who selected remote learning have been assigned to the Batavia Virtual Academy and placed in a class taught by a BPS101 teacher whose sole responsibility will be the students in their virtual class. Special education teachers, other student services staff, and an administrator, Mrs. Hix, will also support the Batavia Virtual Academy.
Together, as a community, we have developed a plan that has adapted to our local conditions and incorporates our wishes to bring back students safely. We look forward to Friday, Aug. 14, when staff will report to work and finalize plans to educate your students in the safest, best way that we can.
The Restore BPS101 Team
School Reopening Plan
Aug. 4, 2020 Update: Moving Forward With In-Person Classes
At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Aug. 3, it was determined that we will be moving forward with the alternating schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.
Students with last names beginning with A-K will attend school face-to-face on Mondays and Thursdays and participate in remote learning Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Students with last names beginning with L-Z will attend school face-to-face on Tuesdays and Fridays and participate in remote learning Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Families with students with different last names will be placed in the same rotation. Students who have chosen the full remote option will learn remotely all five days.
Please note that the four-day plan was not feasible due to cost, classroom space, resources, etc.; therefore, we are unable to offer this option. We are hopeful that having this decision will provide you with information necessary for you to plan for your childcare needs.
Students who are in specialized programs (LEADS, ALOP, STAR and Life Skills) along with a select number of K-8 students currently receiving more than five related services, will attend school all four days.
Families that qualify for the four day option will be notified by a district administrator by Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.
Back Together in 304 Plan
In-Person Learning: Guidance from the State Board of Education strongly encourages a return to in-person learning for all students in Illinois. The goal of in-person learning is to minimize health and safety risks while maximizing in-person learning time.
The district will continually evaluate our approach regularly and communicate any updates regarding in-person learning models when necessary.
Online-Only Learning: The district has developed a limited online-only learning option designed for families with significant reservations about their children returning to any in-person learning this fall. Students in the online-only learning option would be enrolled in virtual sections of pre-identified classes.
These sections would not necessarily be associated with your assigned neighborhood school. Students would have some opportunity for synchronous instruction via Microsoft Teams, and complete all learning and assigned work virtually.
August 6, 2020
Dear Kaneland Families,
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to plan for our return to school.
Kaneland schools will be moving forward with the A/B Hybrid and Choice Remote Learning models. As we look forward to the start of the school year, in an effort to continue to provide a safe and rigorous learning environment, Kaneland is moving the First Day of School for our students to Thursday, August 20, 2020 (A Day on campus/Remote for all other students) and Friday, August 21, 2020 (B Day on campus/Remote for all other students). This start date is for all students, grades EC-12. The later start allows for our teachers to continue working to prepare for student learning in the A/B Hybrid and Choice Remote Learning models. This time will also allow for administrators and directors to continue to hire appropriately and implement safety protocols.
Please know that Kaneland administration continues to monitor the guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, as well as the Illinois State Board of Education. Based on that guidance and other possible factors, District 302 may need to continue to adjust our plans as guidance dictates. Should additional changes become necessary, we will communicate them with you as soon as possible. Our commitment to student and staff safety remains our top priority.
Due to the calendar change, Superintendent Leden will provide a calendar update to the Board of Education on Monday, August 10, 2020. Families can expect student schedules to be available on Monday, August 17, 2020. The last day of school for students will now be Monday, May 24, 2021 to accommodate the later start.
Please continue to look for information from your respective students’ school. Principals will continue to share important information on details for a successful return to school.
Kaneland District Administration
Change in Plans
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On Tuesday evening, I made the decision to alter District 300’s return to school plans from a primarily in-person approach to a Remote Learning approach for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 academic year (August 17 through October 9). My decision was based on multiple factors including:
- Increased COVID-19 cases in Kane County
- Conflicting guidance from The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) pertaining to student safety and meal service
- Conflicting guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) pertaining to daily student screening and the manner in which the district must make decisions regarding when to exclude a student who has COVID-19 symptoms
For those who would like to view my board presentation explaining my decision in greater detail, a video is available online at: https://www.d300.org/BoardMeetingVideoArchive.
I respect that some have a differing opinion regarding how the school year should begin or what decision I should have made. Unfortunately, there is no approach that will satisfy every individual’s needs and interests. And, each option available to us has inherent drawbacks. In the end, I hope that regardless of your opinion that you understand my decisions are focused on the best interests of our students, staff, and community.
I certainly won’t profess to be a COVID-19 expert and I am most assuredly not an alarmist. I work to educate myself and make decisions based upon the best possible data and information from the experts. However, when guidance goes awry or presents direct contradictions, I feel the need to pause.
District 300 will open the 2020-2021 academic year accordingly:
- The district will open in Remote Learning for all students (pre-K through 12th grade) starting on August 17, 2020
- During the first two days of class, elementary teachers will host individual virtual meetings with students and their families. These meetings will allow each student to become more comfortable with their teacher and to learn more about the class and the teacher’s expectations. This is also a great opportunity for the teacher to learn more about their incoming student.
- Students in LEAP, SOAR, LIFE, Multi-Needs, L.D. Self-Contained, and 300 PLUS programs will return to in-person instruction after Labor Day. In-person instruction will occur Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, students will participate in asynchronous learning from home. Parents will receive a letter with additional details. Students attending therapeutic schools (such as Parkland, Camelot, Glen Oaks) should follow their school’s reopening procedures.
- The district will remain in Remote Learning through October 9, 2020
- Before September 11, 2020, parents will be informed of what school will look like for the second quarter (October 11, 2020 through December 18, 2020). The district will select one of the following options depending upon local conditions:
o Continue with Remote Learning
o Transition to a hybrid schedule (A/B alternating day schedule) for all students (pre-k through 12th grade)
o Return to our original proposal of in-person instruction for students pre-k through 8th grade and a hybrid option for high school students
I know you will have questions regarding Remote Learning and I have provided some answers to frequently asked questions for your reference, available by clicking here. Please note that these are also part of my presentation from Tuesday evening. If you have any questions, please email BackToSchool@d300.org.
As a general reminder, you can stay informed of the latest back to school information by visiting www.d300.org/BackToSchool.
Parent And Student Reopening Policies
Student Schedule Release Information
Student schedules will be released in Infinite Campus Portal accounts according to the schedule below:
- Elementary School – Aug. 4 at 4 p.m.
- Middle School and Westfield Community School – Aug. 6 at 10 a.m.
- High School – Aug. 6 at 2 p.m.
Instructions for how to view student schedules in Infinite Campus can be viewed by clicking here.
On Friday, Aug. 7, you will receive an email from your building principal which will provide an update on the finalized daily bell schedule during the first nine weeks of remote learning.
As a reminder, the start times for each school may be found here.
District 303 Goes To Hybrid A-B Plan
Early Childhood — Early Childhood will be offered as half day for the 2020-2021 school year. The half day schedule will be 2 hours and fifteen minutes per day beginning at 9 a.m. (morning) and 12:45 p.m. (afternoon). Additionally, 15 minute extension activities to be completed at home will be provided.
Kindergarten – Kindergarten will only be offered as half day for the 2020-2021 school year. The half day schedule will be for 2 hours and fifteen minutes per day beginning at 8 a.m. (morning) and 11:25 a.m. (afternoon). *Additionally, a remote 15-30 minute special will be provided for students each day beyond the regular school hours.
Elementary School — Students in grades 1-5 will attend in-person from 8 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. daily. At this point, students will receive daily instruction in all core subjects and will have at least one‘specials/elective class per day.
Middle School – Students will participate in a blended/hybrid learning model. This A/B schedule will alternate between in-person and remote learning based on the first letter of a student’s last name and alternating every day (A on Monday; B on Tuesday, A on Wednesday, etc). In-person learning will be held during regular middle school hours (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) and run on the regular bell schedule.
High School — Students will participate in a blended/hybrid learning model. This A/B schedule will alternate between in-person and remote learning based on the first letter of a student’s last name and alternating every day (A on Monday; B on Tuesday, A on Wednesday, etc). In-person learning will be held during regular high school hours (7:20 a.m. – 2:21 p.m.) and run on the regular bell schedule.