Dear PORTA Staff and Community,
I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well. The Illinois State Board of Education recently released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year.
This 60-page document , found at this link, has been much anticipated and will go a long way toward answering critical questions all of us share about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing masks, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.
Right now, we don’t have all the answers to those questions as this document was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as our staff thoroughly reviews this detailed guidance and implements the suggestions into our district’s own transition plan.
The PORTA District is keenly aware of the urgent need to communicate to families about what to expect next school year and anticipate releasing our own transition plan the week of July 27, 2020. But as we formulate those plans we also understand that many of the requirements passed down to the district are not easily accomplished and are excellent and safe goals but in certain circumstances unlikely to be attainable. So, moving forward we want to express that we will create policies and procedures that support the requirements found in the transition document but we will rely on parents, staff and our community to understand common sense should rule. We will not alienate students or staff who cannot or refuse to wear a mask in the school buildings, just as we will not alienate those who cannot attend due to health complications or fear of contracting the Covid virus. As such, our final plan will include face to face learning with the expectation that the vast majority of families expect us to return to some semblance of normal. Our plan will also include a blended version of online learning that could include students logging into their classroom live on a daily basis and finally in preparation for another school shutdown we will enhance and strengthen our remote learning options.
As we move forward we will rely on our community coming together to support our students, staff and families. We may ask those parents who are capable to drive their students to school each day so that we can attempt to maintain social distancing on our transportation routes on a daily basis for those who cannot drop their students off at school. We will be creative during our lunch periods, passing times and in those normally large courses like PE so that students are less at risk of spreading covid-19. There is so much that we have to develop prior to the start of the school year and undoubtedly regardless of our plan we will have instances where our plan does not work for some families. In these cases we will evaluate the options and determine the best course of action the district can offer. As such please have patience, understand we develop plans for the majority and alternate plans for those who don’t fall in to the main set of plans. We all will need to be flexible, understanding and act as a team so that we can provide a quality education to our students.
In closing, I am absolutely convinced, as is our Board of Education and PORTA Staff, the best option for our students to succeed is for those students to be in our professional education staff’s classrooms. We hire the best staff, who love and care for our students, why would we not want to insure our students have the benefit of a quality face to face learning opportunity.
Our goals will remain to open our doors in August as we always do. Yes there will be changes, there will be bumps in the road, but we will overcome BECAUSE WE ARE Bluejays………
I will be in touch soon. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy your summer.
Matthew W Brue