WHAT WE KNOW: Whether students attend school in-person in the fall will depend on what phase of restoring the Illinois economy the state is in. In the governor's Phases 1-3, schools are 100% remote learning. Currently, the state is in Phase 3.
WHAT'S NEW: Geneseo Superintendent Adam Brumbaugh on Thursday presented the school board a written plan for various contingencies for school in the fall. If there is no school in-person, remote learning will be different, with more accountability with grades, with assignments and assessments given, graded and recorded and there will be more live and recorded instruction.
Phase 4 calls for blended learning, and questions remain about its limited staff and students in attendance. Students may attend on alternate days, or attendance may focus on kindergarten through fifth grade or some hybrid of that plan. Phase 5 would have no restrictions on attendance, but the teachers would remain prepared to revert to blended learning or even remote learning.
New activities with students now include the behind-the-wheel portion of driver's education, which Brumbaugh said will alleviate the pressure the district thought it was going to have in the fall with a "huge backlog" of students from the fourth quarter. Camps or clinics could resume at the end of June or early July. He also said it was not the district's intention to implement a no-contact week for athletics that's usually held before school starts as long as IHSA allows them to have contact. "They've had zero contact for so long," he said.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Illinois State Board of Education approved a $231,000 grant from federal CARES Act money for the district on May 21. The grant is being used to directly improve the remote learning experience. The district is buying 395 new Chromebooks, 700 Seesaw (remote learning management system) licenses, 100 mobile hotspots, new servers and remote learning professional development. Brumbaugh said there were only 300 districts across the state that submitted the grant and had it approved out of a total of some 860. Board member Kyle Ganson congratulated the administration for being ahead of the curve. "It's a great testament to the district and teachers to try to have forethought of what next year will look like because really, no one knows," Ganson said.
Business Manager Tim Gronski said proceeds from the 1-cent school facilities sales tax were up 9% in May over last May. He also said he felt "a lot better" about the fiscal year 2021 budget than he did a couple of months ago now that the state said it would fund education at the same level. The budget will be ready for board review in August.
— LISA HAMMERfirstname.lastname@example.org
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