July 30, 2020 — Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 Superintendent Dr. Mark B. Skertich has announced the model under which the school district plans to operate at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. The announcement was made in a video message, accompanied by a letter to families.
Over the past few months, the Board of Education and district faculty and staff have been preparing for the 20-21 school year. The process to date has been cumbersome, as we do not know all the answers and there is no road map. Throughout the planning process we have maintained a constant focus on student and staff safety, meeting students academic and social emotional needs, and providing timely and accurate information. We fully recognize the unknown has been challenging for families and appreciate your patience.
Over the past few weeks, we have been actively watching the COVID-19 positive cases in our communities, county and region. The district also has a duty to provide a safe environment for students and staff, while we educate our students. Managing these expectations in a normal year is challenging, managing these expectations during a pandemic is nearly impossible with all students attending five days a week based on local COVID-19 data. Therefore, the district has determined, at this time, the safest way to educate our students and provide a safe and healthy environment for students and staff is by beginning the school year in a Hybrid/Blended learning setting.
This decision has not been made in haste, but after great deliberation and placing an emphasis on student and staff safety. We are hopeful positive COVID-19 cases will decline and we can return to a traditional setting, but at this time, that is not realistic. Collinsville CUSD #10 is once again asking families to partner with our faculty and staff to meet your child(ren)’s educational needs.
Principals will release building specific information to families on a regular basis. Please prepare for a switch to Traditional learning or 100% Remote at any time. The pandemic has proven one thing the last few months, things can change very quickly and we want to be upfront with families. The school year is still a few weeks away and today’s announcement could change prior to August 18th.
To meet instructional needs this year, we must alter the school day schedule. Two major factors played a part in the district’s decision to adjust the beginning and end of the school day. First, meeting the needs of our face to face learners and remote learners in the same calendar day. Second, complying with ISBE and IDPH health and safety guidance (50 person max) in a gym, cafeteria, classroom, etc.
These two factors seem simple on the surface, but in order to comply with safety measures alone, entry and exit into our facilities, breakfast and lunch and social distancing throughout the day, the following school times have been established for the 20-21 school year regardless if the district is conducting classes in a Traditional setting (all kids 5 days a week) or a Hybrid/Blended setting (Monday-Remote; T/R or W/F):
School Day Times 2020-21
Elementary Schools: 8:00AM – 1:00PM
Dorris Intermediate: 8:50AM – 1:50PM
Collinsville Middle School: 8:35AM – 1:35PM
Collinsville High School: 7:55AM – 12:55PM
Hollywood Heights: 7:30AM – 1:00PM
Pre-K 8:00-10:00 and 11:00-1:00 (AM/PM Programs)
Pre-K All Day 8:00 to 1:00 (Full Day)
*Breakfast and lunch will still be offered to students during the school day
We understand this presents childcare challenges and are partnering with the Collinsville, Maryville and Troy YMCA to offer parents the opportunity for onsite daycare at our facilities for grades K-6, as well as offsite to ensure students have structure and supervision while parents work. The YMCA will discuss financial concerns and attempt to assist all families.
Transportation times for a Traditional setting or a Hybrid/Blended setting will be consistent for families and will be announced by First Student as we get closer to the start of the school year. Pick up and drop off times at each building will be distributed to families by the respective building principal in the days ahead.
As we endure unprecedented times, we want to take some time to clarify the options as we approach the start of the school year. The district is actively watching positive COVID-19 cases in our region and local communities. This information will determine under which plan the district is currently operating (Traditional, Hybrid/Blended or 100% Remote).
I want to clarify something: Parents have the option to choose whether or not their child(ren) will attend school for in-person learning. This means, if the district is operating in a Traditional (five days/week) in-person setting, the other option for parents is 100% Remote. If the district is in a Hybrid/Blended setting, the other option for families is 100% Remote. There is no scenario where some students will be in a Traditional setting and a Hybrid/Blended setting in the same building, at the same time during a school day.
It is safe to assume the district could start in a Hybrid/Blended setting and transition to 100% Remote if positive COVID-19 cases spike. However, after a surge in cases occurs and numbers drop, the district could return to a Hybrid/Blended setting. This is just one example, but we are urging parents to prepare for all three options at any given time as health data will drive the district’s decision on which setting faculty and staff will provide students an education this school year.
As we approach the start of the school year, face coverings (masks) are required for students and district employees at all times during the school day unless they are eating or outside at recess. In order to help students prepare for this requirement, please begin having your child(ren) practice wearing a mask at home. This will aid in their transition back to school.
On behalf of Collinsville CUSD #10, we realize this is not an easy time for our communities, our families, our students and district employees. I do ask that we work together for the sake of our students and make the most of a difficult situation. #THEKAHOKWAY
Mark B. Skertich, Ed. D.