ROCKFORD (WREX) — At a Tuesday night board meeting, Rockford Public School District 205 changed its in-person learning plan for the upcoming school year, which begins in three weeks.
High school and middle school students, who will be taking part in in-person learning, will go to school on Mondays and Thursdays. Before, the district had planned on splitting the students into A/B days, meaning some students would go to school on Mondays and Thursdays, and others would go to school on Tuesdays and Fridays. The district said it made the changes because roughly 50 percent of families opted in for the in-person learning, making it easier to control exposure.
"The total number of days of exposure max will be two and a half-days," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.
The district will use Wednesdays as a day to help students with their work. For half of the day, certain students will work with teachers either in-person or virtually. The district felt many students could use more time with teachers to focus on academic challenges and advances. A schedule for these students will not be released until the end of September.
"We know we have a lot of students that need extra help. They lost three months in many cases and had very minimal education contact despite all of our efforts for remote learning. So we know they are going to need help," said Jarrett.
Jarrett said the Rockford Education Association brought concerns to the district about the district not choosing a remote-only plan. Jarrett said the union would prefer all students to take part in remote learning until it is safe to go back to school. Jarrett says he understands the union's concerns but the plan created by the district not only adheres to the needs and requests of parents, but it also falls in line with the guidelines state and local health officials have created.
"At this time, we are well with the metrics we need to be to offer in-person and our board majority supports that," said Jarrett.
Students in elementary school, whose parents opted for in-person learning will go to school four and half days out of the week.