Parents, students have options for fall as suburban school boards finalize plans

Coronavirus

Suburban school districts are starting to make plans for next year and now it’s up to parents to choose what to do.

School boards in Palatine, St. Charles and Naperville all discussed their plans to reopen in the fall on Monday night.

It’s a lot for parents to consider and not a lot of time to make a decision.

“Childcare for parents is a real hardship for many of our parents who work every day and who might not be home and don’t want to have their children home alone,” a Palatine school board member said.

For that reason, many of the districts will be offering parents a choice to bring their kids to school or allow them to work from home.

For those offering an in-class option, face masks and social distancing will be mandatory. Most families will have to self-certify online each day that their child isn’t showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

In Palatine, parents can choose in-school learning or online learning. Kids at home will get Chromebooks, wi-fi hotspots and parents will have access to a 24-hour help line.

The deadline to choose which model works for your family is July 17.

In Naperville, the default model is a hybrid one where kids return to class on certain days of the week based on their last name. Parents can also choose to do an online-only option instead. The deadline to apply is July 22.

St. Charles is offering in-person, online and blended options. Lunch, recess and PE will be outside when possible. If you choose for your child to learn online only, they will get a laptop.

The Indian Prairie School District 204, which covers parts of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield, parents and staff were surveyed with 75% preferring a blend of in-person and remote learning. The district is offering a combined form of learning, as well as an online-only version. The hybrid option involved going to class two days a week, and remote learning three days a week. The days a student attends classes are based on the student’s last name.

Many of these schools plan to clean more thoroughly and some are considering special air filtration systems.

As far as the third largest school district in the country, Chicago Public Schools has yet to formally make an announcement — but everyone from the Chicago Teachers Union to the city’s health department are expected to weigh-in.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said details are coming “soon.”

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