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Education

DeKalb's early childhood, special education students to return Monday, K-2 tentatively set for Oct. 26

Lechner said the district's early childhood program, along with several other special education programs including Specialized Opportunities for Academic and Life Skills Education (SOAL), developmental communications and 18-21 transition team are on track to return Monday, while other grades could return by the end of the month.
Lechner said the district's early childhood program, along with several other special education programs including Specialized Opportunities for Academic and Life Skills Education (SOAL), developmental communications and 18-21 transition team are on track to return Monday, while other grades could return by the end of the month.

The DeKalb 428 school board heard an update on the school's return to learn plan Tuesday, which interim superintendent Ray Lechner said is still on target for an Oct. 12 return.

Lechner said the district's early childhood program, along with several other special education programs including Specialized Opportunities for Academic and Life Skills Education (SOAL), developmental communications and 18-21 transition team are on track to return Monday, while other grades could return by the end of the month.

According to Kyle Gerdes, director for student services, about 100 students will be learning in person, and about 70% of parents that responded to a survey so far said they support the decision, Lechner said.

SOAL, developmental communication and 18-21 students will attend in the morning, with early childhood going to either a morning or afternoon session. All will be five days a week except for early childhood, which will go Monday through Thursday.

Buses will be provided and breakfast and lunch will be free, however students will be asked to eat before and after school.

The next step, Lechner said, is bringing back students in kindergarten through the second grade, which is on track for the week of Oct. 26.

"Again, this is a target date as we closely monitor positivity rates," Lechner said.

Lechner said K-2 students will be split into three groups. All three groups will attend live remote learning classes via Google Classroom from 9 a.m. until noon as they are now. One group will go to in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays and another will go Thursdays and Fridays. The third group is for parents who chose to keep students exclusively on remote learning.

"A team of teachers chose this model because they felt parents and students have learned to participate in mornings with established arrangements already in place," Lechner said. "If we continue an established routine it's much less disruptive to families."

There were no objections on the non-voting item from the four board members in attendance, and Victoria Newport, Jeff Hallgren and Jeromy Olson were absent Tuesday.

Lechner said the next step was for third and fifth graders to return, but no plan or time frame was presented. Lechner also said the district will put on its site positive coronavirus cases and the number of students who are quarantining so the public can track cases.

Lechner said the school is using a seven-day rolling positivity rate, per IDPH guidelines, to determine if school should resume in person.

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