Remote Learning For All Students to Begin TODAY, November 13, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The purpose of this letter is to continue to provide open communication about what is happening in our schools. We have always reported any COVID positive cases to all parents through district-wide notifications. Recently, you have surely noticed an increase in positive cases. This is true not only at RCS, but in our community and Champaign County.
This afternoon we received the following message from Julie Pryde, Director of Champaign Urbana Public Health District:
“Champaign Urbana Public Health District is strongly recommending all schools in Champaign County to consider remote learning until January 5th. Based on the most current data and cluster of cases in local schools, these recommendations will help limit the spread of infection and assist in reducing the positivity rate in Champaign County.
Based on the metrics below, Champaign
County is in Substantial Community transmission which necessitates adaptive pause.
● Current Positivity Rate in Region 6 : 12.7%
● Current Positivity Rate in Champaign County : 8.4 %
● Weekly positive cases per 100,000 population in Champaign County: 350+
● Weekly youth positive cases in Champaign County: 137 ( and increasing)
● Current hospitalizations in local Hospitals: 75 + ( this is the most hospitalizations we have seen ever)
● Multiple clusters and outbreaks in schools and daycares.
We are recommending schools to implement remote learning as soon as possible.”
Given this notice, we have chosen to implement a full remote plan for all students and staff starting next week, Tuesday, November 17, 2020. This means the last day for in-person learning is tomorrow, Friday, November 13th.
The great news is that our district is fully prepared for this and we’ve had lots of practice in recent weeks. Students have devices and kajeet
s (hotspots). Teachers are already implementing remote learning. We just know that this is a huge strain on families in multiple ways.
The final decision as to the length of full remote learning will be that of the school board at the RCS school board meeting Thursday, November 19th at 6:30pm. We will send the link to join the meeting. Watch for it on Facebook and www.rcs137.org. The recommendation will be to remain full remote learning until January 19, 2021. The reason to choose January 19th as a return date is to ensure at least 14 days from New Year’s Eve.
We know the move to full remote learning will create hardships for students, parents and staff. But our district’s first priority is the safety of the students, staff and the community at large. We want our students to be in our schools when
it can be safe for all.
We know that the protocols we have in place are working as we typically have very few students who have to quarantine for close contact at sc
hool. Unfortunately, when we have staff absent for their own children as close contacts or s
ymptomatic (themselves or their children), and we also have so few substitute teachers, then we do not have adequate staffing to ensure adequate learning.
Third quarter will be a topic of discussion at the board meeting November 19th as well. We are still hopeful that we can move forward in January with the original plan to give the option to LEARN Academy (full remote) students to return to in-person learning (BlendEd Academy). We will send families information in December about this process and timeline so please watch for that information.
Please know that this letter is not one I want
ed to write. This recommendation to the Board is the toughest that we have ever made as an administrative team. We have been steady advocates for in-person learning because it is the strongest format to build and foster the child-teacher relationship and the classroom community. Our administrative team and groups of staff have been working non-stop throughout the summer preparing our staff and curriculum and ensuring our schools are safe for re-opening.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult Pandemic. I can assure you this was not an easy recommendation, but a decision that needs to be made during this time.
We will send another letter to families on Friday, November 20th of the board’s decision to remain fully remote until January 19th.
Rantoul City Schools #137