May 20th Message from the Superintenent

Posted by Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat on 5/20/2020 4:15:00 PM

Peoria Public Schools families,

 

While our No. 1 focus these past few weeks has been finishing this year as strongly as we can, we have our eyes and plans on returning to school in the fall.

 

With this note, I’m sharing our thoughts and advance planning already underway by our Return to School Committee, which has met three times so far and has been split into six sub-committees.

 

My intention is to help you start to plan for this fall and to continue our priority to communicate with you often.

 

In anticipation of next year’s reopening, we are pouring over planning and guidance from the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other state plans and professional association guidelines for returning to school.

 

My plan is to provide a formal update to you all by June 30, 2020.

 

This next item that I am going to share is very important. I would like to announce a survey that we created to gather the thoughts and ideas from our families.

 

We will not proceed without careful consideration from you. Please click here to complete the Return to School survey.

 

In the meantime, I’m sharing some highlights that I would like you to be aware of and to consider as we prepare for “back to school” in a few short months.

 

Our Back to School planning is focused on keeping student learning at the forefront - a safe, healthy, and intentional focus on learning. We are conscious of the fact that there could be further interruptions experienced during next school year due to a resurgence of COVID-19. We are also aware of a subset of our community who may simply refuse to send their children to school for a variety of reasons.

 

Generally, we are anticipating three prongs as we return to school:

  • In-Person schooling - with health safeguards. We are waiting for the Illinois Department of Public Health/Illinois State Board of Education return to schooling guidance
  • A Hybrid Approach - some in-person schooling and some remote learning
  • Remote Learning - taking what worked during Remote Learning, what we learned during that time, and input from you to refine and improve Remote Learning

 

Some Questions we are working through in order to prepare for the school year 2020-2021:

1. As information continues to evolve, is it reasonable for our schools to be safely open as normal? What are health and safety protocols that need to be instituted?

2. What modifications should be made to safely open our schools, and is it possible for our schools to make those modifications? We don’t want to make false promises. We are eager to open but safety and health are #1 priorities and considerations.

3. What can be different about our attendance policies to ensure that students and staff can act in the best interest of their health and the health of others? We are mindful of the wide breadth of this pandemic and its continued impact on members of our staff, students, families, and the greater community.

4. How should we modify our “return to work/school” protocols?

5. What do we do with students or staff that are not safe in returning to school?

6. How do we determine if learning loss has occurred for some of our students?

7. How will custodial protocols change to meet current best practice?

8. If the State does not allow us to begin the school year in person, what does returning to school actually look like?

 

Again, we know that the past few months have been challenging. Our students, staff, and families continue to be in our thoughts as we collectively experience this pandemic. I appreciate the support, care, and attention that our staff and you have provided our students during this difficult time. We are stronger when we work together.

 

I will follow up with additional communications prior to June 30, 2020.

 

With gratitude and thank you,

Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat

Superintendent