School Year 2020-2021: Frequently Asked Questions
Check Back Over Time For More!
On August 6, 2020 the District Board of Education finalized its 2020-2021 Safely Back to School Plan. On this page, we're answering some of the more commonly asked questions about the plan - and will continue to add content as the school year approaches.
You might also like to take a few minutes to review our latest FAQ video - below - presented by Dr. Scott Clay, D63 Superintendent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About 63 Online Remote Learning 2.0 (e-learning)
Q: When schools open with distance learning on August 20, will there be a regular schedule?
A: Yes. See below:
PreK: Morning session: 8:45 - 11:15 a.m./Afternoon session: 12:15 - 2:45 p.m.
K-5: School morning: 8:15 - 11:54 a.m./Lunch: 11:55 a.m. - 12:55 p.m./School afternoon: 12:56 - 2:25 p.m.
Gemini/6th: School morning: 8:25 a.m. - 12:24 p.m./Lunch: 12:25 - 1:25 p.m./School afternoon: 1:26 - 3:16 p.m.
Gemini/7&8: School morning: 8:55 a.m. - 12:54 p.m./Lunch: 12:55 - 1:55 p.m./School afternoon: 1:56 - 3:46 p.m.
Q: What will be different about remote learning this fall?
A: There will be a number of enhancements and improvments, including:
- Five hours of learning time for grades K-8 and 2.5 hours per PreK session.
- Expanded synchronous (live) instuction - which will be the biggest part of each student's remote learning day.
- Students will once again receive grades and report cards.
Q: Five hours is a long time - can the school day be shortened?
A: No. The Illinois State Board of Education requires that public schools operating in a remote learning format offer five hours of instruction on every school day.
Q: How can I supervise my child/children at home for five hours of learning each day? I don't feel I can get them to pay attention or provide adequate supervistion.
A: For some students - and parents - this is certainly a challenge. One change that might help is the shift to much more live instruction.
Q: What about the youngest learners? I don't think my preschooler/kindergartener can pay attention for so many hours at home.
A: The District is aware of the challenges facing our very youngest learners. Please know that we have experienced teachers who understand the developmental needs of these learners and curriculum will be adjusted to meet these needs.
Q: I see some "early dismissal" half days on the District calendar. Will these still happen during remote learning?
A: Early dismissal half-days for September - November have all been cancelled. The remaining early dismissal days have been left on the calendar at this time - however they will be cancelled if the District is still operating in a fully remote format by December.
Questions About Child Care
Q: Many parents will return to work in the fall. Will there be child care available during remote or hybrid learning? Will there be any after- or before-school care?
A: Yes. We are aware that there are some parents who must return to work. During remote learning, our Expanded Learning Program will offer childcare from 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Family Resource Center (formerly Stevenson School). Support for e-learning will be provided. If and when the schools shift to hybrid learning, care will be provided in the afternoons - and our regular before- and after-school programs will resume.
Q: If the District is providing childcare, why can't it provide face-to-face learning? Why is it acceptable for Expanded Learning staff to be working if it's not acceptable for teachers to be onsite?
A: The District is confident that remote learning is the smartest, safest way to begin the school year. However, we are aware that some parents have no other option but to leave their homes and work. Providing some kind of care - while less than ideal - is safer than leaving very young children at home alone. It is also the case that far fewer children will be in the Family Resource Center (the program will be capped at 150) than would be in any school, permitting effective social distancing.
Q: What will the child care cost?
A: There will be no additional fee for childcare during the school day. Parents enrolling in traditional before- or after-school care will pay the regular fee.
Q: How will my child complete e-learning assignments while in childcare?
A: Children will have access to their Chromebooks, and staff support throughout the remote learning portion of the day.
Q: Will children be able to eat while in Expanded Learning?
A: Yes. Due to the lower numbers of participants, it will be possible to space children far enough apart to make eating and drinking safer. When possible, children will eat outside.
Q: How many children will be in a room at the Family Resource Center?
A: Approximately 12 - no more than 15 - and classroom groups will not mix. Again, the program is capped at 150.
Q: Will there be any bus transportation to childcare?
A: Yes. Learn more about bus transport.
Q: If the schools reopen for hybrid learning in the morning, how will my child get to Expanded Learning for the afternoon?
A: Students will be bused to the Family Resource Center.
Questions about Food Service
Q: Will meals still be available during remote learning?
A: Yes. Much as it has operated during the summer months, our food vendor will be distributing meals at Gemini. Breakfast and lunch will be available to children to qualify for free and reduced costs meals, and to those parents who choose to purchase food for their child. Parents will need to identify their child when they arrive at Gemini for pick up. Learn more about our food service.
Q: Will meals still be available if the District shifts to hybrid learning?
A: Yes. The District's hybrid plan calls for students to be in the buildings in the morning - and continue with remote learning in the afternoon. Children who have purchased lunches, or who qualify for free and reduced meals, will be given a sack lunch to take home (or to Expanded Learning). This is one of the main reasons that schools (in a hybrid model) will be operating only in the morning: consuming food in the buildings presents considerable safety and health challenges. Children who eat breakfast in school will continue to do so - but the small number of students in the building at that time will enable effective social distancing.
Questions About Technology
Q: Will my student have access to a Chromebook for e-learning?
A: Yes. All students will be provided with a Chromebook. Stay tuned for additional details from your school about Chromebook pick up.
Q: Our internet is not great/we don't have internet service. How will my child participate in e-learning?
A: The District will provide a hotspot to any family that needs one. Stay tuned for additional details about how these will be disseminated.
Questions About Hybrid Learning
Q: If there is a hybrid scenario, may parents choose which days/hours their children attend school?
A: The District is aware that many of our parents have challenges with work schedules or their own school commitments. Our hybrid model is based on all students attending in the morning, thus family schedules should be similar.
Q: Will there be a regular schedule for all students if the District shifts to hybrid learning?
A: At this time, no final schedules have been set as we are not sure when the District will return to face-to-face learning - or what the future may hold in terms of COVID-19.
Questions About Transportation
Q: Will buses be running if the school shifts to hybrid learning?
Q: How will buses stay safe?
A: All buses will comply with state guidelines. Students will be masked, and drivers will wear a mask when loading and unloading - and at all other times if it does not inhibit driving. Our bus vendors will implement strict cleaning and disinfecting policies and students will practice social distancing.
Q: I pay for bus transportation. Will the fee be the same this year?
A: No. Bus fees will be discounted by 50 percent this school year.
Q: I don't want my child on a bus. If the District reopens its buildings, I'll drive my child to school. What should I know?
A: Carlines will be very long, as a large percentage of our parents indicated that they would not be signing up for bus transportation. Parents may not get out of their cars, and students must exit the vehicle wearing a face covering.
Questions About COVID-19 in the Schools & Safety
Q: How can I find out more about COVID-19 and how the District manages COVID-19 cases?
A: Our District Health Office has created a useful FAQ document that includes much of this information.
Q: Why is it the case that those with confirmed COVID cases only need to quarantine for 10 days - while those who have only be exposed to someone with the virus must quarantine for 14 days?
A: It does seem counterintuitive, but there is a reason. Because a positive test confirms COVID, CDC guidelines state that the individual only needs 10 days in quarantine to ensure s/he doesn't pass the virus to others. Those who have been in the proximity of someone with COVID may or may not have contracted the virus - and it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.