District 99 Board of Education shares new guidelines that will shape future hybrid learning plans


Kassem Ossman

New CDC and IDPH guidelines will shape new hybrid learning plans.

On Aug. 14, the District 99 Board discussed the possibility of reopening the school and rethinking the hybrid schedule. New guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) provide the board with gauges as to whether they stand in the minimal, moderate or substantial phases of infection transmission and give new metrics to help redesign the district’s hybrid learning plan.

District 99 is currently in the moderate level of community transmission meaning a new hybrid schedule will have to be created in order for students to return to the building. Still though, sports and activities can continue and student support services will remain available to students.

The current DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) metrics are split into 6 subcategories; county-level risk, new cases per 100,000 per week, weekly case count trend, weekly youth (<20 years old) case count trend, weekly test positivity and neighboring/ regional indicator. Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele acknowledged that these metrics aren’t looking great for a potential return to District 99 schools.

An infographic shows the new guidelines the District plans to use to shape the return back to school. (Jacqueline Barba )

“Right now [the data] is not trending in the right direction,” Thiele said.

Phase updates play a significant role in the district’s decision to go either hybrid or remote and their options to do so. The previously planned A/B hybrid schedule would only be possible once the school enters the minimal, or low moderate phase.

“Phase three would be like what we were like in the spring, we would be staying home. Moving all the way to Phase 5 would be, everyone is back to school every day. 100% of students are in attendance; although, it might still be with safety protocols in place” Thiele said.

DGS parent Kelly Richardson thinks that what the board’s discussion seems more calculated than before.

“I think they are doing a very good job [thinking of everything]. They have taken into consideration many different aspects and they have done a very good job,” Richardson said.

Students think that remote learning has also been beneficial and helpful, though it still presents new challenges. One such student is a DGN junior, George Fotos.

“I love the way the district set up our schedules. I think it gave us time for each subject [however] it’s difficult to stare at my screen for so long as I get distracted because I am not interacting with my peers” Fotos said.

Concrete plans for a hybrid schedule will be discussed in next week’s meeting after reaching out to the community about their comfort levels with reopening schools.