Oswego School District 308 Board of Education President Lauri Doyle urged patience and understanding from the community as district administrators presented their plan to gradually bring students and teachers back into the district's classrooms.
The presentation came during the Sept. 28 meeting of the board at Oswego East High School.
The Board voted 5-2 Aug. 3 to start the 2020-2021 school year Aug. 24 under a "Remote For All" plan for the district's teachers and 16,800 students due to the pandemic. The Board, however, also agreed to review the status of the fully remote program after six weeks.
The Board took no action on the administration's plan to reopen schools during Monday evening's meeting. However, the Board is expected to consider a vote on the plan during their next regular meeting set for 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13 in the Community Room at Oswego East High School.
The plan features four stages: In Stage One, the district is fully remote with no staff or students in the building, Stage Two - the stage the district is currently in - has some staff in buildings, with related services provided to students. In Stage Two, sports and training are allowed with IHSA guidelines, and individual programs and classes are in attendance for partial days, with Special Education students and the youngest grades prioritized to return to the classroom first.
In Stage Three, called "Hybrid & Remote by Choice", in-person learning is offered at all grade levels, with all staff in buildings. Students are offered the option of remote learning "by choice," with limited gatherings allowed, and sports and training continuing under IHSA guidelines.
When students return to the classroom in Stages Two and Three, they will be part of a hybrid schedule involving in-school and remote learning.
Stage Four is "Full Reopening" with all staff and students learning in-person, with all activities resumed.
The district will communicate with parents, teachers and families, Doyle said, adding, "This plan is not going to be the best thing for everyone, just like our current plan is not the best thing for everyone."
"There will be communication that speaks to you as a staff member, that speaks to you as a community member, that speaks to you as a parent in a variety of different situations. This is all going to be happening, but not tonight."
As the proposal was not up for vote - that is expected to occur at the Oct. 13 meeting of the board - Doyle explained the process to those at the meeting and those live-streaming from home.
"Tonight the first step to making that happen is for the board to look through this plan and make a decision on if this is something...looking at costs, looking at the realities of everything, that we approve of and think is in the best interest of our community at this point in time - not forever," she said.
Doyle encouraged residents to practice understanding as the plan was presented.
"Please keep in mind that the intention here is to provide a better learning environment with the understanding that it's not what we would normally want as a learning environment," she said. "Please have patience, and you will get your answers that you need; you will get your answers to all the 'What Ifs', and we will work through those as we go together as a community."
The full plan, including sample schedules for students, is available through the district's BoardDocs account, available through the OSD 308 website.
The Board of Education will next meet at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 13, at Oswego East High School.