ROCKFORD (WREX) — Students in RPS 205 will go back to school one day later than expected.
The RPS 205 board voted unanimously Tuesday to delay the district's first day until Sept. 2. The move gives teachers an extra day to plan and prepare for both remote and in-person learning. Board members say that day is needed to help teachers start 2020 on the right foot.
"We as a board would like to be able to show that we can conduct classes and we can meet the needs of our students and families who want class and meet the needs of those who want it to be remote while respecting the needs of our teachers as we're able," said RPS 205 Secretary of the Board Jude Makulec.
The district will also stagger the start date for elementary school students. Students will start the year in small groups to focus on safety and new routines:
- On Wednesday, Sept. 2, elementary students with a last name that starts with A-K will attend for a full day of instruction.
- On Thursday, Sept. 3, elementary students with a last name that starts with L-Z will attend for a full day of instruction.
- On Friday, all elementary students will attend together.
- Households who have students with different last names should plan to attend on the assigned day for the oldest student in their family.
Since the school year looks different than in past years, RPS wanted to introduce the new policies and procedures to students in smaller groups.
The board adds that Lewis Lemon Elementary School will be ready for the first day of school. This comes after part of the building caught fire during an arson back in July.
RPS also changed the scheduling for in-person middle school and high school students.
Instead splitting students into A/B days, all middle and high school students who chose in-person instruction attend school on Mondays and Thursdays. Students will not attend in-person on Tuesdays and Fridays.
This way teachers will only be exposed to students in-person on two days instead of four, the district said.
The schedule also gives custodial staff more time to clean schools, according to school officials.
RPS 205 also announces new plans for learning on Wednesdays where students work both in-person and remotely in small groups with teachers as needed.
These groups will focus on social and emotional learning as well as extra help with mathematics and literacy. Groups will range from four to six students, whether they are online or in person.
The district says they are still working on specific details for these groups and how the work could change throughout the school year.