The superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 says the district is reviewing a resolution from the Illinois State Board of Education which could impact D65’s plans for a virtual learning option this fall.

Assuming COVID-19 does not dramatically worsen in the community, District 65 will have a full in-person reopening in August for all students except those requesting remote learning based primarily on health or special education status.

However, the ISBE resolution could throw a wrench into the works.

Earlier this week, the state board said public school districts must reopen in person this fall, with remote learning being made available “to students who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and are under a quarantine order by a local public health department….”

The word “and” is the potential hangup, because the quarantine requirement could limit the number of children eligible for remote instruction.

In a website letter to the District 65 community, Superintendent Devon Horton says “Our team is currently reviewing this guidance and the potential impact on our plans for a virtual learning pathway intended to serve a limited number of students.”

Horton says the results of that review will be made public.

He also says that masks will be required in school buildings for the rest of the current school year, and at least at the start of the next school year in the fall.
Social distancing requirements (three feet in classrooms, six feet during meals) will also remain when school begins.

Horton says one “significant and positive” change is that vaccinated individuals will no longer have to quarantine. “Over time,” Horton adds, “this will surely increase consistency and higher levels of learning within our classrooms and schools.”

Students age 12 and above as well as adults are now able to get COVID-19 vaccinations. There is a vaccination clinic for eligible local students, regardless of school, at Evanston Township High School tomorrow (Saturday May 22).

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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