CLARENDON HILLS – Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills educators plan to take their concerns about the start of the new school year to the public ahead of a special Hinsdale Community Consolidated School District 181 Board of Education (BOE) meeting tonight. At noon today, teachers plan to stand six feet apart, wearing masks and holding signs promoting the adoption of a hybrid learning model to start the 2020-21 school year.
Today’s action comes after the District 181 administration published the latest version of its 2020 Fall Reopening Framework, along with a frequently-asked questions document for parents and staff. Leaders of the Hinsdale Clarendon Hills Teachers’ Association (HCHTA) have met with the central administration of D181 on several occasions to discuss the plan, originally presented to parents and staff on July 17. The administration’s plan calls for full-time in-person learning, five days a week. The school year will start with a two-week hybrid transition on Aug. 24 to prepare for full-time in-person learning beginning Sept. 8.
“Teachers want to provide the best educational experience for their students. Even though 100 percent remote learning is the safest option for everyone, we believe the hybrid approach allows us to provide excellent instruction for a manageable number of students and to better supervise important enhanced safety protocols at school, like social distancing and the correct use of facial coverings,“ HCHTA Co-President Sara Havel said. “That’s why we are asking the board to start the year with a well-organized, academically rigorous, fully-functional hybrid plan.”
In a survey conducted by HCHTA, they found that only 13 percent of their members prefer te district’s current model. Eighty-one percent of those who responded do not feel physically safe with the current reopening plan. In fact, 38 percent feel very unsafe.
“We are concerned about our students’ health and our educators’ health. We are talking about a life and death decision. Our plan needs to be thoughtful and thorough and protect all our students and staff,” HCHTA Co-President Lori Andreoni said. “We remain highly concerned about the lack of a hybrid approach beyond the two-week transition period. We are also eager to see the development of a full-time remote plan, ready to implement, to ensure we are 100 percent prepared to shift our instructional model should the need arise.”
HCHTA represents more than 367 teachers, social workers, psychologists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. There are 3,776 students who currently are enrolled in nine D181 schools.
Today’s action is at noon near the D181 Administration Center at the intersection of Holmes and 55th Street in Clarendon Hills. Tonight’s special boarding meeting is at 7:00 p.m. and attendees can join through this link.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.