FAQ: Trimester 3 in District 97

The Learning Selection Form for Trimester 3 is due Feb. 18, 2021. Below are some frequently asked questions that we have received regarding hybrid learning and the new trimester.

Click here for the full District 97 Hybrid Learning FAQ.

Will the district utilize the same hybrid schedules that we shared in December 2020?
Yes. Schedule options for elementary and middle school are outlined in the updated Framework for Reopening Schools.

Could the current hybrid schedules (five days for elementary, four for middle) change for Trimester 3 if on-site enrollment exceeds the previously communicated threshold of 54%?
It is possible that the district will need to make adjustments to the existing schedules if there is an increased number of in-person selections. That decision will be based on on-site enrollment, building capacity and the latest COVID-19 guidelines. We will make every effort to provide consistency for our students and families and maximize the number of instructional hours on site.

When will the district inform families of the hybrid schedule for Trimester 3?
We anticipate discussing Trimester 3 enrollment and schedule options during the Feb. 23 Board of Education meeting.

What happens if I don’t complete the form for Trimester 3?
If we do not receive a student’s form by the end of the day Feb. 18, they will default to their learning selection for Trimester 2.

The CDC released updated guidance for schools on Feb. 12. Will this impact the district’s current safety plan?
Guidance from the CDC and state and local health departments is updated frequently to account for our growing understanding of COVID-19 and effective strategies for preventing the spread of the virus. As a result, our plans have changed over time. We will continue to review the most up-to-date information and adapt as necessary. Any changes to our district or school safety plans will be communicated to stakeholders in a timely and transparent manner.

Has the district considered spacing desks closer than 6 feet apart in order to accommodate more students and maintain the current schedule?
District 97 classrooms are currently set up to maintain 6 feet of social distancing between students and staff. However, the latest research from Harvard University, which informed our updated metrics for Trimester 2, cites 3 feet of social distancing between young learners as an important element of infection control. 

In an effort to provide as consistent of a schedule as possible, it is possible that desk spacing may be adjusted to accommodate more students. We are currently reviewing the latest health guidance and are planning to gather feedback from our staff and families. We will communicate any changes as soon as possible.

Are families able to switch to remote learning if they no longer feel comfortable sending their children to school?
Yes. Hybrid families may switch to remote learning at any time, but that change will apply for the duration of the trimester.

For example, if a student attends in-person learning for three weeks but parents later switch that student to full-time remote learning, they would remain in remote learning through the end of the school year.

Can I choose hybrid learning and keep my student home until after spring break?
No, families are not able to "reserve" a hybrid learning spot for several weeks before sending their child to school. During Trimester 2, school principals have been monitoring long-term absences for on-site students to determine if they have switched to full-time remote learning. Generally, on-site students who have been absent from school for 10 days are considered to have switched to full-time remote learning. Once they have made that switch, they are unable to return for on-site learning.

While we understand the desire for more time to make this important decision, it is also critical that we have accurate enrollment numbers for Trimester 3 in order to make determinations about the hybrid learning schedule. 

Will District 97 staff be vaccinated before the start of Trimester 3?
District 97 is holding two vaccine clinics in February in partnership with the Oak Park Department of Public Health and Oak Park and River Forest School District 200. Based on the timing of these clinics, as well as the information we have from individuals who received the vaccine elsewhere, we anticipate that the vast majority of our staff will be vaccinated by mid- to late-March.

All District 97 staff members were offered the opportunity to be vaccinated through our partnership with the Oak Park Department of Public Health.

What happens to students who are re-enrolling for Trimester 3, or are registering for the first time?
Students who are re-enrolling or registering for the first time must complete the full registration process. If a student's registration and documentation have not been fully submitted, reviewed and approved by February 18, the student will be enrolled in full-time remote learning. Likewise, if the parent/guardian does not make any hybrid/remote selection, the student will be enrolled in full-time remote learning. 

Students who successfully enroll in hybrid learning may later choose to switch to full-time remote learning.  However, students who choose or are placed in full-time remote learning, will not be eligible for hybrid during Trimester 3.