Dear Ridgewood Families:
We hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. We have spent the last four months soliciting your feedback, staff feedback, as well as reviewing the ever-changing guidelines provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in order to create the safest plan possible for returning to school this month. These have not been easy decisions to make as we know this community, based on our survey, is divided on its thoughts on how we should return. That being said, safety of our students and staff is our main priority. This will never change. When there was an increase in school shootings, we listened to the community’s concerns and implemented increased safety measures to ensure the security of our students and staff. This is no different. We continue to keep safety at the forefront of all decisions.
Per the ISBE and IDPH: In-person instruction may resume as regions transition to Phase 4. Districts must follow IDPH guidelines, which provide the following:
- Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
- Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
- Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
- Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and,
- Require an increase in school wide cleaning and disinfection.
With these guidelines in mind, here is how we plan to start the year.
Description of Schedule
The RHS schedule is based on an A-Day/B-Day rotation with identical time schedules. Considering that a traditional schedule includes up to 8 courses, the A-Day represents periods 1-4 and the B-Day represents periods 5-8. All students participate in four classes a day in an every-other-day pattern. Students are online from home every school day for four, one-hour class periods (see chart below for details) with a five minute break between periods. Students are also assigned an advisory period daily from 1:15-1:40 p.m. Teachers will take attendance in Skyward at the beginning of each class and advisory session, and students are expected to remain engaged during the duration of the class/ advisory. Students are still responsible for completing coursework (daily practice/homework, classwork, quizzes, performance assessments, and other tasks) in a timely manner. Because the schedule is an alternating A-Day/B-Day schedule, it benefits the student to complete their coursework that afternoon or evening. Teachers will have office hours in the afternoon for students to request additional support. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, students with the last names A-L may choose to be physically present in the teacher’s classroom for office hours, while students with last names M-Z participate in Learning Time at home. On Thursdays and Fridays, students with the last names M-Z may choose to be physically present in the teacher’s classroom for office hours while students with last names A-L participate in Learning Time at home.
If parents/guardians choose on any day to keep their child at home and not send their child physically to office hours in the afternoon when it is the student’s day to attend, the student can request to have a virtual office hours session remotely (via ZOOM) in the same manner done in the morning via remote learning. There will be dedicated time on Mondays for virtual office hours, and students can reach out to their teachers directly for additional help as needed.
As educators, our best work is done when we are consistently face-to-face with all of our students. Knowing this, our staff will provide connections in creative and unique formats given the circumstances. Courses that require hands-on learning opportunities (band, art, lab sciences, etc) will develop a schedule in mid-September to allow students the opportunity to physically enter the building to participate in these courses in a safe and orderly fashion in the afternoons.
If our Region returns to Phases 2 or 3 of the Governors Illinois Restore Plan, we will still have the same schedule, but it will be completely remote. This schedule will be in place until we move to Phase 5 of the Governors Illinois Restore Plan.
- Synchronous = Students will be learning and completing coursework in a live Zoom session with their peers and instructor all at the same time. Students are REQUIRED to be on live ZOOM during this time.
- Asynchronous = Students will be learning and completing their coursework on their own time, without accessing live ZOOM sessions.
Again, the creation of this schedule has been a long process, keeping safety of students and staff at the forefront. We believe this schedule will provide us with the greatest flexibility for meeting the needs of our students, keeping everyone safe, and seamlessly providing a consistent education, regardless of what phase we are in, per the Governors Illinois Restore Plan.
Attached you will see a one page summary of our schedule and the entire Back-to-School Plan, including details for all aspects of the school year.
We recognize that these are challenging times that are filled with anticipation and some stress, but everyone here at Ridgewood High School is excited to start the school year and look forward to working with you.