Dear District 97 Families,
As we head into the winter months, we want to remind everyone of our school closing guidelines, along with our new E-Learning Plan for the 2021-22 school year. These are the guidelines we would follow if we had to close school due to inclement weather or other emergencies.
In the event we need to close due to weather, one of two scenarios will occur:
- If there is sufficient time for the superintendent to inform staff, parents, and students, we will have an E-Learning Day in place of an in-person day. This would have no effect on the school calendar.
- If the weather were to develop suddenly, or if there wasn’t enough time to notify everyone to have devices with them, then it would be designated an emergency day and no one would attend school on this day. This could change the school calendar, as emergency days are typically made up at the end of the year.
In July 2021, the District 97 Board of Education approved an E-Learning plan for students to receive instruction electronically in lieu of traditional emergency days (or inclement weather days). This means that instead of canceling school, the superintendent now has the option of calling an “E-Learning Day” where students and staff learn and work virtually at home. This provides a continuation of learning and prevents the loss of critical instructional days, particularly in our first and second trimesters. E-learning opportunities also provide access to instructional resources in the event of more extended periods of school and/or district closures due to other emergencies.
It is important to note that an E-Learning Day would differ from the remote learning that students experienced last school year. In the event that an E-Learning Day is called, teachers will follow a similar schedule of courses/classes for that day(s) and classwork. Teachers will share the E-Learning schedule for online learning and schoolwork to their Learning Management System (LMS), as defined in the District E-Learning Plan that can be viewed at http://www.op97.org/elearning. District 97 utilizes Seesaw and Google Classroom at the elementary level and Canvas in its middle schools.
As District 97 has planned for these learning opportunities we have taken into consideration access to devices and the Internet. All of our students in kindergarten through eighth grade currently have access to district-issued devices (iPads or Chromebooks), and we have worked to provide access at home for all families through our Internet for All program. Additionally, all staff were required to participate in an annual training of expectations for E-Learning during the first trimester of the 2021-22 school year.
District 97 will aim to provide as much notice as possible in the event of any school closure and/or E-Learning Day. If District 97 decides to close buildings, the information is shared through multiple channels, including email, the district website, our Facebook and Twitter social media pages, and the Emergency Closings website.
Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet