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Local News

Kaneland School District 302 to offer remote-only option in addition to hybrid plan

Classes start Aug. 13

Students and parents walk the halls of Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove during an open house in 2016.
Students and parents walk the halls of Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove during an open house in 2016.

MAPLE PARK – Kaneland School District 302 announced Monday that it will now offer a remote-only option in its Return to Learn plan.

The option is available to all families, and once a family chooses remote-only, they are locked in until the end of the trimester for elementary students and until the end of the semester for middle and high school students. Each remote-only student will receive a schedule by Aug. 12, with classes starting Aug. 13.

According to a document emailed to families, remote students can expect about 5 to 6 hours of instruction time, but class selection may be limited. They will be expected to complete daily work, and will be expected to attend synchronous class sessions, when applicable.

Remote high school students will not be able to participate in Fox Valley Career Center programs, the document stated.

Dr. Todd Leden, superintendent, said that the district is regularly evaluating the plan as the school year approaches, and is considering many factors, most importantly student and staff safety, as the schools prepare to open their doors.

He said that as they continue to monitor new guidance, the district wanted to accommodate the needs of families who prefer to keep their students at home.

"Our Directors of Educational Services and our New Personalized Learning Coordinator have worked tirelessly this summer to take the findings from the parent, staff, and student survey from last spring to work to create a learning environment that will be more dynamic and meet the needs of both staff and students," Leden stated in an email. "That said, we are hoping that we will be able to have students on campus following our A/B schedule this year. Students would keep their current teacher, however instruction would shift from rotating A/B days to 5 days a week. If the shift does occur due to the pandemic, our goal is to keep the consistency for our student and staff, transitions such as this can be challenging during any required adjustment period."

Leden said that he expects about 10% of families will opt for remote learning, and the district will be determining teaching assignments in the next few weeks.

"Families have until Monday, July 27 at 12 p.m. to select the remote learning Family Choice option. We will finalize schedules after the timeline closes next Monday," he said in an email. "With such a supportive parent community that we have in Kaneland, we have had a push for all options - full capacity, a variety of hybrid options, as well as remote options. The most challenging of this return to school is the variety of student and family needs that we know exist."

Montgomery resident Jennifer Crocker, who has a 2nd grader and a 5th grader, said that she was disappointed with the district because the initial Return to Learn plan did not offer many options for families. She said she was "very happy" that administrators and the school board decided to offer the remote-only option.

"The safety of students and staff needs to come first, and I'm glad Kaneland parents have been given this opportunity to choose the best option for their family," she said. "I am cautiously optimistic about the quality of education my children will receive with remote learning. It's clear from the district's plan that remote learning in the fall will be much improved compared to the spring."

Elburn resident Lisa Olson, who has a sophomore and 7th grader in Kaneland schools, said that she thinks the district was put in the tough position of having to make important decisions that affect so many families.

But, she was hoping for a full-time in-person option.

"I applaud them for doing their due diligence in getting things ready for our students to start school," she said. "Right now we have a hybrid in-person option and as of yesterday, a full time e-learning option. Those of us who would like full-time in-person option for our kids are hoping this might open up space in the buildings to allow it to happen. It would be nice if we were all given the choice to do what is best for our families."

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