East Moline Grade School District 37 plans to return to the hybrid setup it began the school year with in August when it comes back after its second-quarter break the week of Monday, Oct. 25.
Since late August the school system that serves Glenview Middle School plus four elementary schools — Hillcrest, Ridgewood, Wells and Bowlesburg, the latter in Silvis — as well as the entire preschool program, went completely remote.
“We are excited to be coming back at least two days,” Superintendent Kristin Humphries said.
The decision to return to its original setup was made last week, and a letter was sent home to parents in addition to being posted on the district and schools’ websites.
“It has always been our goal to return to in-person learning,” Humphries wrote on the district’s website. “The reason behind the move to full-time remote learning was because of the public health concerns in our area.”
The decision to go completely remote also was made Aug. 25 because on Monday, Aug. 24, when only teachers and other adult personnel — but not students — would be at school, District 37 had 21 adults with either symptoms or close contacts with people with symptoms of COVID-19, and they were going to have to be excluded from being at the school.
That was on the heels of the previous week when four classrooms with a total of 29 students were sent home because of possible exposure to people with symptoms of COVID-19.
When they return to the hybrid model Oct. 25, everyone will do remote learning on Monday. Some will come to school Tuesdays and Thursdays with others coming Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on which group they are in. They will be in remote learning the other two days, Humphries said, adding that this was the district's original plan.
Remote learning has been improving with practice in the district.
“We thought it was improving every day,” Humphries said. “We were pleased with it.”
Still, it was obvious he’s happy to have the students back in the classroom — even if it is only for two days a week to accommodate social distancing sought by the Illinois Department of Public Health. It results in much smaller class sizes, hence two more days besides Monday with remote learning.
“Nothing can replace working with a teacher,” Humphries said, “even the best remote learning.”
Approximately 30% of the district's students were learning remotely at home anyway, by their parents' choice. Parents have until Thursday to notify the district which method their kids will partake in during the second quarter.