FSD School Board Approves District Reopening Plan

But questions still remain about the plan will deal with the classmates and co-workers of individuals who test positive for COVID-19.

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Superintendent Dr. Anna Alvarado presented the Freeport School District’s reopening plan entitled, Surviving to Thriving: A Guidebook for the Reopening of the Freeport School District 145 at last week’s FSD Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 21. Following Alvarado’s presentation, the board approved the plan to reopen FSD schools this fall amid rising COVID-19 infection rates across the nation.  

Plan Summary

Using guidelines from the State of Illinois (IDPH and ISBE joint guidance), planning committees began developing the plan at the end of June.  The guidebook was created with three priorities in mind and broken into respective sections: Health and Wellness, Continuity of Learning, and Community Partnerships. Below is a brief summary of each section, follow the link to the guidebook for further details.

Health and Wellness breaks down sanitation procedures, facility use, safety protocols, and transportation during in-person instruction.

Key takeaways:

  • All students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear masks while inside facilities and on buses even when social distancing is maintained with exceptions: “children under two years of age, having trouble breathing, unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.”  Students will receive breaks for “fresh air”.
  • Social distancing will be maintained throughout the day, causing changes to food service and transportation: Pre-K-6 meals will be eaten in classroom, 7-8 meals in class during in-person instruction and grab-and-go on remote days, high school students will have the cafeteria and an alternative location to maintain numbers below 50 and grab-and-go during remote days, remote learning students have access to grab-and-go meals much like the spring; buses will run at 50% capacity, school district is asking students to be registered for bus transportation by Aug. 7 to prepare.
  • Student temperature measurements prior to boarding the bus and entering the building; will be moved to a quarantine room and sent home with a temp above 100.4.  Minimum of 72 hours time out for any COVID-19 symptoms with no continued symptoms prior to return – students and staff.

Continuity of Learning provides an overview of teaching and learning models that will be used to ensure the district “meets the learning needs of our students regardless if instruction is being done in-person or remotely.”  In addition, this section provides details on special programs, technology supports and adjustments made to the registration processes as a commitment to be “All in For Kids”

Key Takeaways:

  • Three models of instruction will be utilized this fall.  Students grades PreK-6 will receive in-person instruction every day, while students grades 7-12 will receive a blend of in-person (2x per week) and remote learning, and finally an optional remote learning by choice for any student in the district.  
  • If the district has to close schools, all students will then transition to 100% remote learning.
  • Parents that want to opt for remote learning are doing so for a full academic semester and must do so by August 7th by filling out this request form.
  • To accommodate ½ capacity buses, ensuring social distancing during passing periods, and rigorous cleaning of rooms and facilities parents should expect different start and end times – click here.
  • Special education students PK-6 will receive in-person instruction and services 5 days a week while students 7-12 have three other models available to meet the needs of individual students.
  • English language learners or EL students have bilingual instruction up to grade 4, grades 5-12 entering and beginning proficiency levels will receive in-person learning five days a week, additional support and services determined by language proficiency.
  • Materials and supplies will be individualized as much as possible, cleaned or quarantined after use before further use.
  • PE students will wear masks inside buildings and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.  Limited physical contact, no access to locker rooms, and shared equipment will be limited and sanitized after each use.
  • Extra-curriculars may continue functioning following FSD145’s guidelines.  Sports info for remote learning and in general is changing even as I write this article so will not be discussed.
  • Qualifying households can qualify for assistance through the district to get high-speed internet from Comcast.  Call the Technology Department at 815-232-0569 to obtain a Promo Code.
  • Chromebooks will be assigned to every student in the district.
  • Registration procedures and documents are being digitized for online registration of students.

Community Outreach and Partnerships details how FSD will remain in touch with parents, Stephenson County Health Dept., Freeport Public Library, Greater Freeport Partnership, City of Freeport, and “key educational partners”  (YMCA (SACC) and Boys and Girls Club) as well as reach out for feedback and answer questions along the way.

Key Takeaways:

  • Superintendent Alvarado will be sending out a weekly communication with staff and parents regarding updates and clarification.
  • Quarterly virtual Q+A sessions to directly speak with district leadership about questions and concerns.
  • School nurses and Stephenson County Health Department will be in communication for contract tracing and ongoing guidance.