The District 65 administration building. (Google Maps image)

With overnight temperatures plunging into single digits, it may seem a bit early to start planning for summer school.

But that’s exactly what’s happening in Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

And because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, that planning is starting earlier, and includes the possibility of hiring more substitute teachers.

At a school board committee meeting on Tuesday, board president Anya Tanyavutti asked administrators “in light of the staffing shortage we’re seeing in everything, is there a contingency plan to make sure whe have the staff to run the summer program?”

Assistant Superintendent Stacy Beardsley replied that plans are being put together earlier than both last summer and the summer before. The goal is to have summer school jobs posted by the end of February, to make committments to employees, and find out if there are enough District 65 applicants, or if the school system will have to hire from the outside.

Beardsley also said Districr 65 may add a couple of summer school substitutes, so the system can “plan for higher than average absences” due to the coronavirus. Those subs could move from program to program, depending on need.

Beardsley said summer staff absenteeism is usually low, but COVID could impact that, and having the subs will give the district “a stronger bench.”

She said there will be approximately ,1150 general education and 400 special education slots this summer.

The overall goal of the summer learning program, Beardsley said, is “focused on the acceleration of those who were adversely affected by COVID, and/or those who are performing below targets in reading and math.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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