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Local

Sycamore school district sets Nov. 4 for tentative return to in-person learning option

The elementary principals and upper level administration focused on nearly identical plans, called parallel learning plans. The board will vote on the plan and hear detailed finances about it on Oct. 6.
The elementary principals and upper level administration focused on nearly identical plans, called parallel learning plans. The board will vote on the plan and hear detailed finances about it on Oct. 6.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore School District 427 board on Tuesday heard a plan to get students district wide back into the classroom by Nov. 4.

The elementary principals and upper level administration focused on nearly identical plans, called parallel learning plans. The board will vote on the plan and hear detailed finances about it on Oct. 6.

At the elementary level, classes would be split into two groups, with one group in person and the other online, with the groups alternating days. There also would be a fully remote option for those not wanting to return. The teacher would livestream the class to the at-home students.

The middle and high school plan is nearly identical with the elementary one, although older grade levels would change classes.

"I do know this, it makes us the most fluid," North Grove Elementary Principal Ryan Janisch said. "If we come back and have to go remote, we're ready for that. It means after two weeks of being home, we can come back in person. We're ready for that. It means that any point we can come back full in person, we're ready for that. It gives us the best opportunity to be fluid."

Janisch said the cost would be just more than $20,000 for technology, and there may be additional positions to be hired, although the new positions, if necessary, were ones the district has already budgeted for, he said. Sycamore High School Principal Tim Carlson said the cost for the high school would be about $37,500.

The long meeting, which also covered the budget and gave details about special education via remote learning, was still going on as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The elementary principals presented three plans, saying only the parallel plan was really feasible.

There also were two standalone full-day hybrid plans that would have students in every other day. It would have been the same plan as discussed at the Aug. 18 board meeting, that was rejected for adding about $1.02 million in staffing to the budget.

The other standalone day featured split morning and afternoon sessions. West Elementary Principal Ryan Schrader said transportation would have been a problem. Also, like the other standalone plan, there would be a shuffling of classes, forcing teachers and students to go through another acclimation process.

The parallel plans will let students keep their current teachers.

Both Jansich and Carlson said staffing could be an issue and substitutes will be important to the plan. At the elementary level, Janisch said since the focus was on reading and math for the live portions, teachers for music, physical education and other special would be able to act as subs, as would building principals.

Currently, live portions are being used for review.

Board member Steve Nelson called it the most viable option.

This story has been corrected to state Tim Carlson is the Sycamore High School Principal. The Daily Chronicle regrets the error.

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