Board President Robin Cleek and Vice President Wes Polen read public comments in the order in which they had been received. More than 200 comments were submitted. They read as many as possible within a one-hour time limit.
District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan led a presentation on the District’s revised Return to Learning Plan. While the District’s goal had originally been to provide two different learning models (in person and remote) for families to choose from for the upcoming school year, the District’s new recommendation was for all students to begin the school year remotely. The new recommendation was made after resurveying Hawthorn staff and families; communicating with the Lake County Health Department; communicating with neighboring district administrative teams; answering parent/guardian questions regarding our recommended models; and taking into consideration the increasing COVID positivity rate in Illinois.
Dr. Hannigan explained that even with all health and safety protocols in place, those enrolled in the on-campus model would experience constant interruptions to learning as a result of infection and subsequent quarantines.
Allison Stein, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Innovation, described the proposed remote learning model. More robust than the model used in the spring, the new model would follow the District’s guaranteed and viable curriculum with both synchronous (happening in real time) and asynchronous (without real-time interaction) learning each school day. Attendance would be taken daily. The new model would include traditional District 73 grading practices. Special Education and English Language Learning services would be provided for eligible students. The new model would also include weekly SEL lessons to support students’ social emotional needs.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to begin the school year remotely. The first day of school will be August 31. The District plans to return to in-person instruction when public health authorities advise it is safe.
Board members also recognized that many parents are essential workers or are being called back to their workplaces full-time. The District is exploring a facilitated remote learning option for children in need of adult supervision during the school day. More information will be provided in the near future.
The 2020-2021 amended school calendar was also approved. Following are dates to take note of:
August 24 & 25: state approved planning days
August 26, 27 & 28: Teacher Institute Days
August 31: 1st day of student attendance (K-8)
September 2: 1st day of student attendance for Lincoln
The District will be in session on these dates: November 11– Veterans Day; December 18– Friday before winter break; March 1– Pulaski Day; March 19– Friday before spring break
Non student attendance: November 3 – Election Day
Last day of school: Friday, June 4