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 FAQ on Remote Learning & Extended School Closure

 4/14/2020

Remote Learning

How long will Remote Learning plans last?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced students and staff will tentatively return to school on Friday, May 1. We have plans for the worst, however: that our schools might remain closed for the rest of this school year. We'll continue to share updates with our students, staff and families as we receive them. Find updates on rps205.com. 


Will students or staff have to make up these missed days?
The missed days through March 30 are "Act of God Days" according to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and do not need to be made up. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, Remote Learning Days begin statewide on March 31. Those days will continue until in-person instruction resumes and will not be made up. 

What about special education, IEP and 504 plans?
Our special education staff -- including related service professionals -- are collaborating with general education teachers to develop lesson plans and activities that are accessible for all students. Our goal is to assist families with emotional support and provide activities to keep our students active and healthy.

What if I don't have access to a device?
The administration has surveyed families about students' at-home Internet and device needs. We will distribute Chromebooks to students in grades 3-12 who need them to successfully participate in Remote Learning. We'll share more details in the coming days; the first phase of Chromebook distribution starts this week. 

Why isn't the district providing Chromebooks for prekindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grade students?
We're prioritizing grades 3-12 at this point for a few reasons. We're exploring other platforms for our younger students, in part, because we want to limit their screen time. We know it's better for young students to interact with people and each other instead of a screen. Teachers are creating lesson plans for pre-K and K-2 students that do not require technology.

What if I don't have Internet access at home?
Comcast has implemented Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone. Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the "xfinitywifi" network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. We'll also include directions for connecting to WiFi and charging Chromebooks when we distribute Chromebooks.

What if I need technical help?
For student account password issues or Chromebook hardware issues, please call the IT Helpdesk at 815-966-3112. For information on connecting to WiFi, charging your Chromebook, caring for your device, and logging into your Google account, please refer to the Chromebook Take-Home Instruction guide provided with your Chromebook.

How can I access resources/materials for these lessons – like paper, pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, etc.

Printed learning resources are available on Thursdays at several RPS 205 sites for grab-and-go pickup. Find the schedule here.

All locations will provide the same materials – grab-and-go packets in English and Spanish for Early Childhood, K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 – so families can attend whichever site is most convenient.

These paper resources are not required. They are designed for families who don't have access to technology and want paper copies of learning materials; or families who are looking for additional support beyond what's provided on the remote learning website. Find a list of community locations for paper packet pickup here.

Will assignments/classwork be graded?

Students' work will be graded, but grades earned during this extended school closure can only raise a student's final grade. Students' grades as of March 13 will be the baseline for the rest of the school year.

Elementary students will maintain or improve their scores on the standards-based report card from the March 13 baseline. Middle school students will receive a pass or incomplete during this time, and high school students will receive a letter grade or an incomplete. Students who were failing on March 13 must engage in learning and demonstrate progress to improve their grade. If they don't, they will receive an incomplete for the full second semester and make up that work when this remote learning period ends.

I work during the day and can't assist my child with lessons. How can I support them?
Learning can happen any time of day. Our lesson plans offer many possibilities for engaging with your child(ren) in a variety of ways which can happen outside the traditional school day hours. Focus on connection, ensuring that you're establishing a routine as much as possible in your home. Please check in with your child's teacher for how to stay connected.

Are there screen time limits to follow?

Early Childhood & Elementary Total Daily Screen Time Limits

  • EC: 10 minutes a day; maximum of 50 minutes a week
  • Kindergarten: 30 minutes a day; maximum of 150 minutes a week
  • Grade 1: 30 minutes a day; maximum of 150 minutes a week
  • Grade 2: 40 minutes a day; maximum of 200 minutes a week
  • Grades 3-5: 45 minutes a day; maximum of 225 minutes a week

Middle & High School Daily Screen Time Limits Per Teacher

  • Grades 6-8: 15-20 minutes a day; maximum of 100 minutes a week per teacher
  • Grades 9-12: 20-25 minutes a day; maximum of 125 minutes a week per teacher

How often will work/assignments be posted/updated?
Teachers will update their lesson plans each week, so students can access a full week's-worth of lessons at a time. 

Will past lessons be archived somewhere?
Yes. Teachers will ensure that all activities are posted in order so students/parents can go back to previous lessons.

Will my school take attendance?
No, student attendance will not be tracked during remote learning.

How does Remote Learning work for students at Roosevelt?
Each student's plan at Roosevelt is unique, and students already have course material available online. Please contact Roosevelt Principal Morgan Gallagher with specific questions, morgan.gallagher@rps205.com.

Why doesn't RPS 205 have a formal e-learning plan?
At this point, RPS 205 isn't equipped for e-learning. Our community still has access issues for students, and e-learning requires five hours of consistent learning each day, with measurable metrics and accountability. That's where we're headed, but we're not there yet.


Spring Activities & Events

What does the extended closure mean for spring athletics and activities through the IHSA and IESA?
Please find the latest updates from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) here, and from the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) here.

How will the extended school closure affect end-of-year celebrations – like prom and graduation?
We don't know at this point. We're waiting for guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Governor and the Winnebago County Health Department about large gatherings. We'll share more information as soon as we have it.

What is happening with spring standardized tests?
Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order suspending state assessments for spring 2020. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, "this action officially ends assessment activity statewide for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, Illinois Science Assessment, SAT, and Dynamic Learning Maps-Alternate Assessment for the 2019-20 school year." The state board is working out plans to offer current high school juniors the opportunity to take the SAT in the fall. 

What is happening with Advanced Placement exams?
The College Board is supporting schools that are shut down because of COVID-19, and tests will still be administered. Follow this link for more information.


Questions About the Extended Closure

When is the last day of school?
The last day of school for students is June 3. Follow this link for the RPS 205 2019-20 Academic Calendar

How does the extended closure affect driver education?
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the classroom portion of a driver education program may be completed through remote learning, but the 6-hour behind-the-wheel portion of driver education programs must be suspended for the duration of the mandatory suspension of in-person instruction.

When can students enter schools to clean out their lockers?

We're waiting for more information from the state before those decisions are made. At this point, the Governor has extended the school closure through April 30; students tentatively return on May 1. We'll share more information when we receive it.

Can I still enroll for the upcoming school year or change my address?
Yes. Welcome Center staff will continue to process enrollments and change of addresses during the closure. Please visit the Welcome Center website for more information.

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