The end of last school year was unexpected and resulted in a great deal of stress being placed upon school districts, teachers, and more importantly, students and their families. The 2020-2021 school year looks to be no different. Districts have been provided guidance and mandates developed by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health in order to provide in-person instruction. We are committed to students returning to school, but the ability to do so and meet these requirements is a daunting task. A Return-to-Learn Plan has been developed by the Bushnell-Prairie City District Leadership Team and other key school and district personnel, and was approved by the Board of Education at its regular meeting on July 15, 2020. A link to that plan can be found below.
While there are many things I don't know about what the next school year will bring, this is what I do know:
- The mandates and guidance provided by our governing state agencies are clearly defined.
- Those mandates and guidance are controversial and there are many strong opinions within our school community.
- The hybrid plan the District has developed to get students back to school does not meet the varied needs or priorities of all of our teachers, families, and students.
You will continue to hear about plans from other districts that differ from our own. Each district has developed plans based upon their building configurations, space, and the staffing necessary to provide in-person learning, while also assuring that health and safety requirements are met. There is not a one-size fits all solution. There will be elements of one plan you think we do better, and others upon which you might think we could improve. The plan we developed places a priority on getting students back in classrooms every day, enables us to provide students with 2 meals a day, and enables teachers to also support remote learning for those students who are unable and/or unwilling to return to in-person learning.
Here is what I also know:
- Teachers want students back in school.
- Students need to be back in school.
- We cannot do this alone. The partnership between school and home will never be as important as it is now.
Kathy Dinger, Superintendent