USD 290 opts for September start

The Ottawa Herald

At its regular meeting this week, the Unified School District 290 Board of Education voted to begin school Sept. 9, with teachers returning Aug. 21.

The decision passed in a 6-1 vote Monday night, with board member Malydia Payne voting against the measure.

"This also means that the end of school will need to be pushed back to provide enough time for USD 290 to meet the mandate of 1,116 hours of seat time for students," said Ryan Cobbs, USD 290 superintendent. "The last day for our students will now be May 28, 2021."

Cobbs summarized the district's reopening plan in a letter to parents released Tuesday. In the letter, Cobbs addressed concerns surrounding student learning options, positive COVID-19 test response protocol and student access to technology. He added that the details of daily student life during the semester will likely be determined by enrollment figures.

"All parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their student, Pre-K through 12," Cobbs said. "If you choose to do so, please know that there will be a learning log that will need to be signed every day to document the efforts of your student. We will provide that log for you each day. In addition, there will be specified times during school day hours that your student will need to be logged in to receive instruction and connect with teachers."

Students will also have the option to attend in-person.

"If we can maintain small class sizes, all students who want to attend in person will do so each day for the entirety of the school day," he said. "If our enrollment indicates that class sizes will begin to swell, we will move to an A/B model that will have our students at all buildings attending half days, with the second half of their learning being done so remotely."

More details will be available after the last day of enrollment on Aug. 7, Cobbs said.

"Our goal is to ensure that we can continue to engage our students in high levels of learning while also making sure that the environment in which we connect with them is safe for everyone," Cobbs said. "As we continue to develop this plan further, I will make sure to keep you informed."