Dist 117 Calls for Special Meeting to Discuss eLearning to Start School Year

By Jeremy Coumbes on July 24, 2020 at 3:04pm

Jacksonville School District 117 has called for a special meeting of the board of education next week to consider starting the upcoming school year with eLearning.

The notice and call for consideration came hours after the Decatur Public Schools District announced Friday morning, students would not return to school for in-person learning, and instead will participate in 100% virtual learning for the entirety of the 1st quarter which ends on October 9th.

Decatur Public Schools is the first district in downstate Illinois to announce a virtual only return to learning for the fall semester.

Jacksonville District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek said in an announcement this afternoon there will not be any action on a school plan taken by the board during the special meeting.

He says while the district is still looking at their plans for in-person learning that were announced earlier this month, “the environment is quickly changing” and he wants to update the board on the status of the current planning.

Ptacek says “there are other factors [they] need to discuss such as the changing legal landscape, the reality of increased staff absences during this ordeal coupled with an extremely difficult time finding substitutes, and other concerns that are creating another layer of guidance.”

Ptacek says though, he does want everyone to prepare for the possibility of the district being in an e-learning model to start the school year.

The District 117 school board will meet next Tuesday for the special session at Jacksonville Middle School auditorium at 5:30 pm.

Also included in the agenda is a closed session for personnel considerations, followed by action items related to personnel considerations and “resolutions of honorable dismissals of certain educational support personnel.”