Genevieve Karutz

District 214 is expanding daily in-person learning to all students beginning April 5. However, students who request an in-person exemption can continue remote learning. To promote a safe adjustment to in-person learning, D214 schools will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines in regards to COVID-19.

Students and staff will have their temperature taken before entrance into D214 buildings, social distancing will be maintained as much as possible and masks will continue to be required according to Principal Greg Minter. Furthermore, certain stairwells and hallways will allow for one-way movement to improve social distancing.

As more students are allowed in the building, the original six feet social distancing rule will be reduced to three feet in order to accommodate more students in the building and classrooms.

Minter believes the decision to fully open D214 schools was based on three factors. First, many teachers are fully vaccinated. Second, the warmer weather makes lunch safer because students have the option to eat outdoors. Third, key indicators such as COVID-19 case counts statewide are in rapid decline.

Although Minter encourages students to return to in-person school, he understands that some students may prefer to continue with remote learning for personal reasons. 

“We want to be empathetic to families that are not comfortable sending their students to school,” Minter said.

The Illinois State Board of Education has recommended that schools provide a remote learning option through the remainder of the school year. All families who are interested in continuing online learning can do so as long as they submit the In-Person Exemption Request Form by Monday, March 15 at 8 a.m. 

Minter encourages students to return to in-person education because he realizes that some students struggle academically and emotionally in remote learning.

Additionally, Minter states that the teachers, administrators and staff are all excited to welcome students back into the building. He believes that since COVID-19 is not going away, returning to normalcy is inevitable.

“I would just like to see us try to [open up D214 schools] here in the spring… so that when we start next year, students have had experience with [in-person school],” Minter said.