July 27, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The clock is ticking as we make plans for the reopening of schools this fall. The administration team along with the teacher leaders are working diligently to provide the best experience possible. We have determined we will offer an e-learning only option for all our students whose parents choose this instructional delivery method. We have surveyed parents and guardians twice and will be sending out another survey soon to gather additional information concerning choices of instructional delivery methods and transportation needs.
It is imperative we hear from all parents and guardians as we will be finalizing our options list soon. In addition to this E-learning only option, Macomb will be starting the school year with the A-B Hybrid Model. Students in the A Group will attend face-to-face Monday and Thursday while the B Group attends Tuesday and Friday. On Wednesdays the teacher will be live online with both groups at once creating the whole class. On the two “at home academic” days, assignments will be posted online or sent home with students to complete during that time. We are also attempting to assist with the student “at home’ days by partnering with a few community agencies to help you with work schedules etc. Family’s choosing the E-learning only path will be choosing this option for the entire semester. We DO NOT have the ability to move students from E-learning back to face-to-face except at the semester break. I am asking each family to consider your options carefully before making your final decision via the survey.
It is critical that our parents and guardians have a view of what E-learning only and the A-B Hybrid Model of instruction will and will not be when we return. E-learning K-5 will be remote with a live online teacher and will be delivered four days per week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The teacher will meet with the class briefly on Wednesdays for perhaps an hour or so. Our teachers and administrators have been training with Microsoft and our tech team this summer in order to improve our E-learning delivery of instruction. E-learning for grades 6-12 will be delivered using Edgenuity, which is a third-party company who specializes in online content and delivery. What makes this fall much different than the spring semester is attendance and grades both counts. In terms of face-to-face school, this will not be the same experience as students are used to. According to the guidance at this time from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the State Board of Education, everyone will have to mask while inside the building and we will be practicing social distancing throughout the day. I can assure you teachers will develop safe and appropriate ways to take mask breaks periodically throughout the day. In addition, all personnel entering the buildings must have their temperature taken. Bus riders will have their temperatures taken before they enter the bus. Please do not send your child to school if they have a temperature or if they had a temperature and you used a fever reducer to lower it. Parents will have to be responsive if their child has a temperature as students will not be allowed on the bus or in the buildings if their temperature is 100.4 or higher. A good proactive approach would be for parents to check their child’s temperature before heading out to school or the bus stop.
Bus routes will run as normal, however as I’m sure you are aware, we are capped at 50 students per bus. Students must be masked the entire time they are on the bus. I would encourage as many parents as
possible to drive your students to school or have them walk or ride a bike. We will attempt to gather this information in our next survey as well. If you do choose to drive your student to school and they normally ride the bus, please let the bus garage know at 309-836-6806.
Fall sports, marching band and other activities continue to be questionable. The IESA which governs Jr. High athletics has officially cancelled Boys and Girls golf and cross country. The IHSA which governs High School athletics will be meeting on Wednesday with the Illinois State Board of Education. It is anticipated there will be some announcement concerning fall sports by the end of the week.
Just as a reminder, we have purchased enough devices to have one per student sent home. In addition, we are developing short tutorials ranging from turning the laptops on to advancing to uploading assignments and fully participating in Microsoft Teams with the teachers. These mini lessons are being posted on our website as they are developed.
These are certainly unprecedented times and I appreciate all the varying viewpoints which have been shared with me. I will continue doing my best to ensure we develop the best plans possible concerning your child’s return to school.
Patrick M. Twomey