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Sycamore school district in early planning phases for fall 2020 re-entry plan

"ISBE, I'm not real confident with them,"Jim Dombeck, D-427 board president, said. "As you know, they issue a guideline on Monday then on Friday they're issuing a new guideline that changes the issue guideline.
"ISBE, I'm not real confident with them,"Jim Dombeck, D-427 board president, said. "As you know, they issue a guideline on Monday then on Friday they're issuing a new guideline that changes the issue guideline.

SYCAMORE – Kris Webster isn’t sure what the school year is going to look like in August.

However, the Sycamore director of learning and teaching told the District 427 School Board on Tuesday that even with those unanswered questions, the district has the core information to put a number of different plans in place.

“If it’s in-person, we’ll be ready to go,” Webster said. “If it’s part in-person, part not in-person, we’re ready to go. If it ends up we start off online, we’re ready to go. There are a couple big scenarios, and if we’re prepared for each of those scenarios, we’ll be fine for whatever comes because the base will be there and we can alter whatever details come through.”

Webster was answering a question from board president Jim Dombeck, who said he wanted to make sure the plan would be flexible should guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education change.

One such instance was when ISBE announced no in-person graduations, then days later amended that to allow limited drive-up or drive-thru ceremonies.

“ISBE, I’m not real confident with them,” Dombeck said. “As you know, they issue a guideline on Monday then on Friday they’re issuing a new guideline that changes the issue guideline. I’m just wondering if there’s something solid we can anchor to that allows us to do some really quality work going forward.”

Webster said they were still in the early phases of planning. She said until Sunday – the day of the high school’s graduation – the focus was on finishing the school year. Next week, she said, the focus shifts in earnest to getting ready for the fall, and that a pair of learning teams already have met.

No specific plans were outlined.

“In order to be successful in the fall, our teachers and parents need to feel supported for however that opening is going to look,” Webster said. “So we’re creating a lot of professional development for our teachers.”

Webster said surveys were sent out to parents late last week for an assessment of the remote learning process, and the results were already trickling back in, though she did not give specific compliments or complaints they received.

“We’re definitely moving forward,” Webster said. “We’re not in a wait-and-see approach, but we’re not jumping ahead with a full plan either because there is so much that is unknown.”

Webster said June is going to be a pivotal month in planning for the fall. No specific timeframe was discussed for finalizing a plan.

Webster said she realized parents really want a timeframe, but stressed she’s confident a solid plan will be in place in time for the fall.

“That is our goal is to create three – well I’m not sure of the number – but create multiple plans that we can estimate what the potential scenarios might be that the details are flexible enough to change to meet the specifics of the situation.”

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