A-JCHS District 81 Board approves plan for return to school

The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School  District No. 81 Board of Education has approved a plan for students to return to school for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The plan was approved during a regular monthly meeting of the District 81 Board of Education which was held Monday night, July 21. The meeting was held in the A-JCHS district office. 

The return-to-school plan comes amid the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought the 2019-2020 school year to an abrupt end during the spring.

The board considered two proposed plans, both created with input from teachers, parents and the Southern Seven Health Department. School is scheduled to start Aug. 18.

One plan would involve a full return, with the entire student population attending class daily. The plan would adopt a block-style scheduling system to minimize student interaction. 

The other featured a blended school week where students would spend half the week in the classroom and half remote learning. 

The board approved the blended system, with all board members who were present voting yes.  

Details are still to be finalized, but the main approach to the plan would be to divide the student body into two groups alphabetically by last name. 

One group would attend school on Wednesday and Friday, while the other group would be in the classroom on Tuesday and Thursday. Each group would also alternate in-class studies on every other Monday. 

A full remote learning option will also be made available for students with health risks or other pandemic-related concerns. 

Resources like Chromebooks and mobile hotspots will be made available to assist students with remote learning. 

The board hopes that dividing the student body will reduce student interaction and help to maintain social distancing standards set by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Additionally, all individuals within school buildings will be required to wear nose and mouth coverings, and social distancing measures will be practiced wherever possible. 

Health screenings will also be implemented, with temperature checks required for all students, faculty, staff and visitors before entering the building. 

Plans for frequent sanitization of classrooms and other high traffic areas will also be standardized.

School days will consist of seven periods, with the final bell scheduled for 1:15 p.m. School lunch will be offered by using to-go bags that students would pick up after dismissal. 

Other school districts in the area have adopted similar blended learning systems for the school year, and school board members discussed allowing students to, with approval by the administration, change groups in order to keep siblings on the same schedule. 

The board expressed plans to have an official, finalized version of the blended-learning system finished in the coming weeks. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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