To minimize academic disruptions, District 225 recently adopted a new policy in which emergency school closures are replaced by Emergency E-Learning Days, Bruce Doughty, president of the Board of Education, said. This change was prompted by the new Illinois law passed on June 18 which stated that districts are allowed to utilize emergency e-learning during emergency school closures, Doughty said.
“The district’s new system will help maintain the continuity of learning during such closures, thereby minimizing disruptions to the curriculum and academic progress,” Doughty said. “In addition, the new system will reduce any need to extend the school year via Emergency Days.”
An Emergency E-Learning Day will look similar to regular e-learning days, Doughty said. Students will be notified of an Emergency Remote Learning Day the night before or early that morning through the district’s notification system, Doughty said.
“Students would log into their classes remotely and participate from their homes [during an Emergency E-Learning Day],” Doughty said. “Teachers will use their experience and the District’s technological resources to provide instruction, assignments and assessments.”
Phillip Gartner, instructional supervisor of the Math Department, agrees with the new policy and finds it helpful because the it allows the district to avoid having to add on days to the end of the school year.
“For AP classes, being able to make the most of instructional days before the exam, as opposed to adding at the end of the year, is helpful,” Gartner said. “Furthermore, who wants to add days into the summer? Some families like to plan, whether it be for jobs, summer camps or vacations.”
Junior Minjae Lee shares a similar belief, as abrupt school closures can cause added stress for students. Lee appreciates that Emergency E-Learning Days will not interrupt the learning process.
“Any unplanned interruption of education is detrimental to the progress being made by teachers and the development of concepts for students,” Lee said.
Danita Fitch, instructional supervisor of the World Languages Department, appreciates that Emergency E-Learning Days will reduce stress for students and teachers, however, she worries teachers will not have enough time to rework their lessons into an online format.
“Our teachers are such professionals and they are rarely satisfied with doing less than their best, so I worry that some will stay up all night to prepare[for an Emergency E-Learning Day],” Fitch said. “As supervisors, we need to reinforce that perfection is not the goal, especially considering that the day is called an Emergency E-Learning Day.”
Principal Dr. Laurgen Fagel explained that Emergency E-Learning Days are beneficial, as they will not need to be made up at the end of the school year, as normal school closure days would need to. However, freshman Carter Johnston feels as if the district should keep the same policy as previous years, as he enjoys the anticipation of snow days.
“Snow days have always been a day of excitement and surprise because you usually don’t know you’re having one until you wake up,” Johnston said. “Having a day in the middle of the week to sleep in, go skiing or just relax at home really helps your mental health.”
While Doughty knows that some students might be disappointed with this policy change, he hopes students will understand the district is working to best serve students.
“We will work to ensure that all of our students have connectivity to the internet and access to online instruction, assignments and assessments,” Doughty said. “We also will continue to work closely with our students in specialized programs, who may have varied needs.”