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Genoa-Kingston District 424 re-entry plan includes option for live video classes for remote learners

GENOA – Genoa-Kingston superintendent Brent O’Daniell revealed key points of the district’s Return to Learn plan on Twitter Monday morning, ahead of the district’s school board meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday night.

According to the plan, students will alternate every other day based on last names, with one group going Mondays and Wednesdays and the other going Tuesdays and Thursdays. The groups will alternate Fridays. School dismissal time will be at 1 p.m. and face masks will be required for all students who chose the in-person option.

The district will also offer a remote learning option, which O’Daniell said he expects about 20 to 25% of students to use.

O’Daniell said nothing is in stone yet until final participation numbers come in from parents and the school board has their own discussion, but he said the plan is for elementary students who do remote learning to have scheduled one-on-one time with their teachers, while middle and high schoolers will participate in live instruction through Google Meets.

“That’s our goal but we don’t know the details yet,” O’Daniell said. “I would like to think there will be established times (elementary) students would be in direct contact with a teacher every day. They won’t be sitting in front of a teacher from 8 until 1, but maybe it’s a scenario where they get direct instruction for 20 or 30 minutes, then come back 40 minutes later for another 20 or 30 minutes. We’re not sure but it’s what the team talked about during the discussion period.”

O’Daniell said the plan was devised by a panel of teachers, administrators and parents that met a handful of times since the end of last school year. He said the district has plans in place for Restore Illinois Phases 1 through 5. The plan revealed Monday was for the current state, Phase 4.

O’Daniell said the district has been seeking massive amounts of input from the community. He estimated the district has sent between eight and 10 surveys home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For middle and high school students, O’Daniell said the specificity of instruction makes one-on-one meetings for every student more unwieldy than at the grade school level. But he said the technology is in place to have middle and high schoolers participate in classes live and remotely.

“Our intent is there will be a live Google Meet while the teacher is providing instruction,” O’Daniell said. “There’ll be video of the teacher and the smartboard and those kids will be learning right along.”

O’Daniell said the district has enough cameras and computers to make the remote learning feasible.

“One piece we need to pay attention to is making sure those remote learners are getting enough time with the teacher as in-person learners are,” O’Daniell said. “Teachers have to program themselves to be aware of the kids online.”

At the elementary and middle school levels, students will stay in the same room with the same group of students all day, while the high school students will change classes. In-person attendees that must self-quarantine will be able to participate in remote learning during the quarantine period if they are able to do so.

Traditional grading will be in effect at all levels and attendance will be daily for both in-person and remote learners.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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