Following similar moves by neighboring districts, Glencoe District 35 will move to all-remote learning through the holidays, according to an email sent to parents Friday, Nov. 20, from Superintendent Dr. Catherine Wang.
District students will learn virtually starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 30, through winter break. The district plans on hybrid learning to resume Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“This adaptive pause will enable District 35 to provide consistent, predictable, and robust learning via our remote model, one we have been preparing and training for since last summer. Our teachers are ready,” Wang wrote in the email.
To return to in-person learning post-break, the district is requiring all students and staff members to produce a negative COVID-19 test. The district says it will fund and offer testing for students on Jan. 11 and 12.
“Should a family prefer to complete their own testing,” the email reads, “District 35 will accept the negative result of a PCR test (not a RAPID test) administered in Illinois between January 10, 2021-January 14, 2021.”
Prompting the new measures by D35 is the current state of COVID-19 in the area and region with new cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations climbing to new highs in the month of November.
Wang said in the email that the district is facing absences around 15 percent of the combined student and staff population, and the district expects “that number to grow dramatically” through the holidays.
Earlier in the month, the Glencoe School Board discussed implementing required COVID-19 testing after winter break. The board will officially vote on the measure in December.
On Nov. 16, the district announced it would require any staff member or student who travels out of state to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school grounds.
D35’s winter break ends Jan. 3. Officials are asking families who travel to return home by Jan. 4 so they can potentially complete a full quarantine prior to the return day of Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Wang said a negative test plus a 14-day quarantine are required; One does not cancel the other out.
“The Administration and Board of Education recognize that this adaptive pause will cause difficulties, and even disappointment, for our families,” Wang says in the email. “We believe, however, this approach ensures a clear path for us to return to in-person learning in the new year. Please watch for additional details about our remote plan coming next week from your child’s principal.” (district emphasis)
Surrounding districts made similar moves over the past week. Four Northfield Township elementary districts were the first to announce the pivot until after winter break, followed by Avoca District 37. Wilmette District 39 announced a one-week shift to all-remote for the week following Thanksgiving, Nov. 30-Dec. 4.
In response to the district moving to remote-only, the Glencoe Park District announced it will continue to offer child care through the Children’s Circle and Kids Club Essential Enrichment Camp.
The park district’s Early Learning Center, however, will follow D35’s lead and offer virtual programming Nov. 30-Jan. 15.
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