The Troy Community School District 30-C school board this week approved a plan to gradually return to in-school education, after the 2020-2021 school year began August 27 with students learning remotely from home. Using numbers gathered from several sources, including the Will County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health’s regional and county level risk metrics and zip code metrics, Superintendent Dr. Todd Koehl told board members on Wednesday of the sustained decrease in Covid-19 transmission rates in the community. Koehl said teachers and school support personnel have been doing a superior job at teaching students remotely, maintaining Troy’s high standards of education, and a return to the classroom will more fully support the development of the whole child – educationally, socially and emotionally.
Stage 1 in the district’s reopening plan begins October 5, with special education and bilingual students beginning a hybrid schedule of a combination of remote and in-school learning.
The school board will then decide whether to begin Stage 2 on October 26, when kindergartners and first-graders begin an A/B split hybrid schedule.
Stage 3 is tentatively planned to begin November 16, with second- through eighth-grade students gradually moving to in-person learning in an A/B split hybrid schedule.
Stage 4 could begin January 25, with a full hybrid model of half days in school and half days at home, and Stage 5 would eventually begin with full-day, five days a week, in-person instruction for all students.
Throughout, masks will be required and social distancing enforced. Students will also stay in one classroom during their in-school sessions. Students and staff who become infected with Covid-19 and those who were in close contact with them will be quarantined for 14 days. At each stage, parents will be able to decide whether their children will continue remote learning or participate in the transition to in-school learning. A slow and cautious return to in-school learning is prudent at this time, Koehl said, to give teachers time to adjust to the new schedule and administrators and the school board the opportunity to evaluate the transmission metrics of the virus. “Doing it right sometimes takes a little time,” Koehl said at the board meeting. “I do not want to go backward. I only want to go forward.’