Harlem School Board remind parents of remote learning options as holidays approach

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — With COVID-19 not appearing to go anywhere, administrators with the Harlem School District want to get ahead to keep students safe over the holidays.

The board held a meeting on whether or not to decide to switch to remote learning later this fall. Board members say they want to take everything into consideration.

“With families getting together for Thanksgiving and Christmas the concern is if anyone is traveling outside of the region or bringing people in from outside of the region where they have a higher rate then the cases are going to go even higher, so we would like to be proactive for the sake of the children,” said Harlem School District Board President Sue Berogan.

“We’ve seen very little transmission in our schools and we’ve had really low numbers across all the schools in regards to the number of cases we’ve had, but we just want to be proactive, said Director of Stateholder Engagement Jason Blume. “When we approach the holidays and we know people travel, people get together with family and friends outside of school, it’s a time we’re probably going to see an increase.”

Board members say it’s not just the positive cases that make an impact, but the number of teachers that have to quarantine after being exposed. Last week alone, only 70% of classes could be filled by substitutes due to the number of teachers out.

Administrators worry that could increase during the holidays.

“There’s just so many factors that we have to take into consideration,” Berogan added.

After Tuesday evening’s discussion, board members decided against making any changes, but do want to remind families they can choose remote learning at any time.

Since school started, more than 300 students have switched to fully remote learning instead of the hybrid or in-person model they originally chose.

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