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RPS 205 going to fully remote learning after Thanksgiving

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford's largest public school district is moving to fully remote learning after Thanksgiving due to a surge of COVID-19.

The school district made the announcement on Friday. All RPS 205 students will move to remote-only instruction starting Monday, Nov. 30. Classes will resume as currently assigned with both in-person and remote-only instruction on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

RPS 205 says they're following guidelines from the Winnebago County Health Department to take an "adaptive pause" from in-person learning.

Here's what parents need to know:

Connecting remotely: Elementary students should take home electronic devices before the start of Thanksgiving break. Families should follow up with their main office staff about device pickup. All middle and high school students already have Chromebooks. Visit rps205.com and click on the “Student Tech Support” button if you need help connecting. 

Early Childhood: Students will bring home learning materials before Thanksgiving break. We’ll share more information soon about connecting with EC families during this time. 

Remote planning: Tuesday, Dec. 2 is a remote planning day for all Prek-12 students and staff, including Early Childhood, and staff will not connect remotely with students. This is a change for EC staff and families. 

Meals: The district will continue to provide grab-and-go meals to RPS 205 families between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Sign up to receive meals online: visit rps205.com/parents/meals. Meals are also available Tuesdays and Fridays from 4-6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Auburn High School, 5110 Auburn Street
  • Eisenhower Middle School, 3525 Spring Creek Road
  • Flinn Middle School, 2525 Ohio Parkway
  • RESA Middle School, 1800 Ogilby Road

Winter athletics & activities: Most after-school activities and athletics that require face-to-face contact are on pause, effective today. This aligns with the governor’s latest Tier 3 mitigation strategies. Activities – including chess, debate and scholastic bowl – can continue virtually. Athletic directors and coaches will be in touch with more information.

In-person/Remote Instruction Requests for Elementary students: We initially told families their request to change to either in-person or full-time remote instruction – if granted – would start Dec. 7, which is the start of the second trimester for elementary students. This temporary switch to full-time remote-only instruction for all students will delay those requests.

Elementary students currently assigned to in-person instruction will return in-person on Monday, Jan. 4. Elementary students assigned to remote-only instruction will continue with remote learning on Monday, Jan. 4. We are working through those requests now and will share an update – including which requests were granted and a start date – as soon as we have one.

Several RPS 205 schools have reported at least one case of the virus since the start of the school year, but none of the schools have reported an outbreak of the virus until now. On Thursday, the Winnebago County Health Department identified Spring Creek Elementary School as the first RPS 205 school with an outbreak of COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the state provided clarity on the difference between an outbreak of COVID-19 and exposure to COVID-19.

For outbreaks, the state says it's a location where five or more cases are epidemiologically linked to a specific setting during a 14-day period. For exposure, the state says a location where someone who tested positive went in the time before they were symptomatic or tested positive.

The health department says the school has at least 5 cases of the virus, thus calling it an outbreak.

RPS 205 Students started the school year on Sept. 8 after the district moved the start of the school year back a week. The first day of in-person learning was on Sept. 10.

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Andrew Carrigan

Andy Carrigan is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team as a photographer in 2016 after graduating from Northern Illinois University. He also been a producer and Assignment Editor at the station.

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