ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After a week of receiving in-person or remote learning surveys from Rockford Public School parents, the results are in.
About 9,500 students will be returning to the classroom this fall, while about 9,800 will stay home for remote learning.
There are still nearly 6,000 families who have yet to make a choice, despite an August 3rd deadline.
Initially, the Rockford Public School District said it would automatically enroll students in in-person learning and without transportation if parents didn’t return the survey.
But, with so many surveys not returned, Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett says they’re holding off for now.
“We’re calling families two, three, four times, if that’s what it takes,” he said. “We’re doing robocalls. We’re doing text messages. We’re trying to hit in as many ways as we can. We’re working very intensely to make sure that families to have the opportunity to make a choice.”
Jarrett said even if a majority of families who haven’t responded choose in-person instruction, keeping class sizes to less than 20 students is a top priority.
“We think that is the best way to ensure our staff feels safe, and that we feel good about students and staff being safe as a district,” Jarrett said. “So, we will find a way to get there, and with the way the numbers are coming in, we’re extremely confident we’ll be able to do so.”
The amount of students choosing to stay home also means kids who need to take the bus to school should have no problem doing so.
“We do anticipate buses will have some excess capacity as a result of 50% of our families opting into remote instruction,” Jarrett said.
As for RPS teachers, there will be at least 150 openings to teach strictly online. Only current RPS teachers will be considered for those positions, but priority will be given to those most at-risk from COVID-19.
“There are some staff that have pre-existing conditions, and we have a medical process where those will be the individuals who are offered the opportunity to do remote learning,” he concluded.
Since more students opted for remote learning than the district had planned for, Jarrett said Early Childhood Education students have the option for half day, remote learning.
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