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D65 drops plan for mid-November return to classrooms

Washington Elementary School. (Google Maps)

With what the superintendent calls a “concerning rise in test positivity rates” for COVID-19 in our area, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 will not re-open for in person school as planned on Nove. 16.

In a message to the District community, Superintendent Devon Horton says, “It is not safe to welcome back hundreds of children and staff members for in-person learning” on the November date.

Horton says the target date for in-person classes is now Jan. 19, 2021, assuming COVID metrics improve. The mid-January date, he says, will allow for a 14-day quarantine after winter break when many travel and attend gatherings.

All 7,000 District 65 students (pre-K through eighth grade) have been on remote education since school began in August. This is the second postponement for in-person school. The District had initially aimed for the end of September, then pushed the opening back to Nov. 16.

The superintendent says the COVID positive rates for suburban Cook County are far higher than what is considered safe for a return to school.

Horton says he will let families know soon what in-person school will be like if it occurs in January. A District survey showed 49 percent of the families wanted to return their children to classes in school buildings, however, the District has recently sent out another questionnaire asking families if they want to change their preference, either to in-person or to remote education.

Horton says he appreciates the community’s support and understanding. “This global pandemic is the most significant public health crisis of our time,” he says.

keywords » COVID-19

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh

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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