Dist 117 Reminds Parents Option to Switch to Remote Learning Ends Friday

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 3, 2020 at 6:30pm

District 117 is reminding parents they have one day left to choose remote learning over in-person learning for their students.

Superintendent of Schools Steve Ptacek sent a reminder this morning that tomorrow, Friday September 4th is the last day parents in the district can opt for their children to go to remote learning instead of in-person.

Parents who want to switch to remote learning should contact their building principal to set up making the change. With students being out of class both Monday and Tuesday of next week due to the Labor Day holiday and a teacher institute day, Ptacek says it is a good time to make the move.

He says students who want to move from remote to in-person learning will have until the end of next week to opt to go back to physical buildings. Parents should also contact their school principal to make those arrangements as well.

Ptacek says the district will open the option to return to in-person learning at the end of the first quarter. He says a decision on if the district will open options for moving to remote learning will have to be made closer to the end of the quarter, as they will depend on local health conditions at that time.

Ptacek says once the divide between remote and in-person is settled out, elementary parents will still have options if they are concerned about the size of the class their student is currently in.

Some of our elementary schools now have a substantially higher percentage of students choosing remote than other elementary schools. So once we get the final numbers after the choice window is done, we will be able to much more accurately determine the imbalance in student loads between schools.

We are going to issue out those numbers and we are going to issue some grade levels in some schools and allow parents, to make the decision if they wish to have their kids in less populated classrooms.”

Ptacek says he will announce in detail the new procedure next week. He says parents with concerns about social distancing will be allowed to make the choice to move their student and help balance out the numbers in classrooms around the district.

Right now Eisenhower and South actually have smaller classes than they do in a regular year, because they are even getting around a 25% of students in remote learning. So they are smaller classrooms than normal but still if you’re ending up with 22 or 23 in their classrooms and maybe 12 to 13 in another school in the same grade level, then we would allow the opportunity for some of those parents if they are more concerned about social distancing than they are currently about the school the students attend, to on their own make the decision to request a transfer over to the other school.”

Ptacek says parents who choose to move their student will have to provide transportation for their child, as the district’s transportation is currently operating in a tight window and cannot pick up and drop off students outside of their usual routes.

He says the program is being offered as a choice option only, and the district has no intention of making any mandated transfers of students.

Again, if you want to switch your student from in-person to remote learning in district 117, you must contact the principal of your student’s school by tomorrow to make the change.