Devon Horton.

School Superintendent Devon Horton says Evanston/Skokie District 65 will have an update about “the launch of our hybrid learning model and associated metrics” on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The district’s more than 7,000 students have been on remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo to the community issued Friday, Horton said the district’s medical advisory committee met this week “to further discuss the science and safety behind the safe reopening of our schools.” That committee was formed after demands from a parents group, the Coalition to Reopen District 65 Schools. The panel is made up of local doctors, parents, leaders of District 65 employee unions, and district administrators.

Horton said the advisory committee stressed “the importance of taking a layered approach to reopening schools”, which requires both monitoring of coronavirus metrics and mitigation measures such as social distancing of desks and improved ventilation in school buildings. He stated the doctors on the panel “commended our district on the robust mitigation measures and the preparation of our schools for in-person learning.”

Since remote schooling began in August, District 65 has scrapped three announced dates for bringing students back in person, one in late September, one in mid-November, and for Jan. 19.

Reopenings were canceled due to levels of COVID-19, hospitalization rates, and other health metrics regarding the pandemic in Illinois Health Region 10, which includes Evanston.

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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