Public Hearing set for Tuesday, August 11, at 7:00pm
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 17, 2020) – In a Facebook Live video Thursday afternoon, District 158 Superintendent Nathan Schilling and School Board President Bob Wood let the District 158 community know that they plan to begin the new school year with remote learning.
A special Board meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, at 7:00pm, at which the Board will formally present the plan. The public is invited to attend via Zoom.
The Facebook Live video can be viewed on the Lansing SD158 Facebook page (link opens new page), and a transcript of the video is provided below:
Dr. Schilling: Good afternoon Lansing School District 158 community. This is Superintendent Dr. Schilling with the president of our Board of Education, Mr. Wood, joining you from our district administration center with an important announcement about the start of the 2020–2021 school year.
Mr. Wood: This fall we plan to start with virtual learning. We will physically have our teachers present in the classrooms and use the latest technology to engage our students in interactive lessons.
Dr. Schilling: Last night the board went through several phases, discussing how to transition the staff and students back to school. Phase 1 was defined, in red here, as the past 11 weeks of remote learning that took place in the spring of 2020.
During the summer we have transitioned to Phase 2, which is having our teachers back on site as well as our certified staff engaging kids in live virtual learning and related services. The Board made the determination that this is the safest way to start school in the fall, by having our teachers and certified staff back and having students remain at home for virtual learning.
Mr. Wood: We hope to transition students into the school buildings as quickly as possible, and safely. We do hope to prioritize those of our youngest students and those with special needs, while also encouraging extra-curriculars to take place in small groups.
Dr. Schilling: It’s the Board’s hope that Phase 2 will last for Quarter 1, that we will start the school year in Phase 2, but in Quarter 2 we may be able to transition to Phase 3, which is bringing back students onsite in some fashion — in small groups, or alternating, or something that still allows safety precautions to still be in place depending on the circumstances of the health pandemic. If and when we’re able to resume normal operations, we would return to Phase 4, which would be regular school district operations.
The Board discussed last night a timeline within which to present the formal fall transition plan as well as approval in a public hearing, and this will take place at a special Board meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 7:00pm. So you’re welcome to join us via Zoom video conference for that meeting to see the formal presentation of this information and the fall transition plan.
We do acknowledge that this may create hardship for some of our families, especially our parents that need to return to work, and for that you have our sympathy and our apologies. However, the school district and the board believe that this is the approach that will allow us to prioritize safety and ensure that our students are receiving engagement in live teaching and services while also remaining safe during a health pandemic.
Mr. Wood: Good day.
The District 158 administration center is located at 18300 Greenbay Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.