Southern Ill. schools discuss reopening plans

Future of Illinois Schools

VIENNA, Ill. (KFVS) - With the school year beginning in about two months, districts statewide are wondering what is the right move.

Vienna Schools are planning to reopen with in-person classes beginning in August.

“We’re very excited the Illinois State Board of Education has signaled we’re going to be able to return to in-person instruction,” said Superintendent Joshua Stafford.

Other school districts are waiting for further guidance from the governor’s office. The Frankfort School District is one of them.

“Until the state decides we don’t know what to do. If we come up with 50 ideas, 49 of them will be wrong,” said Frankfort Community School District Superintendent Matt Donkin

Back In Vienna, the high school nurse Sheri Smith is preparing for the fall as well.

“The State of Illinois did supply the school with a CARES grant, which is allowing us to purchase some supplies. So, at this time we have purchased extra cleaning supplies, gloves, personal protective equipment such as mask and gowns,” Smith said.

Stafford is ready for the school year to begin. He’s excited to see kids in the halls again.

“Just reconnecting with our students in general is the first thing we’re looking forward to,” Stafford said.

The Illinois State Board of Education said it would release guidance in the next week on making a safe transition back to in-person learning in the fall. It would include public health requirements for personal protective equipment, including face coverings; capacity limits on individuals in one space; social distancing; symptome screening; and school-wide cleaning and disinfection.

Having been a district superintendent in Illinois, I understand the urgency of getting clarity and direction out to all of you as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Carmen Ayala, state superintendent of education. “At the same time, the stakes have never been higher for our guidance to adhere to the best and most current science and data. Meeting this standard has meant deep collaboration with public health experts. I appreciate the patience you have shown as we have sought to meet the high standard necessary to protect the health and safety of our students. "

Ayala said they realize in-person learning may not be feasible in all situations, and said blended remote learning days would allow schools to use a mix of in-person and remote learning.

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