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Return to School Update & 2020-2021 Learning Pathways


Oprima aquí para ver esta información en español. 

Please note the deadline for families to submit their preferred learning pathway selection has been extended to August 5.


July 22, 2020


Dear Evanston/Skokie Community, 


Earlier today, our leadership team presented an update to the School Board on our return planning efforts, including a framework for starting the new school year. We know that the pandemic is impacting us all differently and that we must think beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. As we look toward the fall, our goal is to first and foremost protect the health and safety of our students and staff while providing families with options to the greatest extent possible.


Our Return to School Plan was largely informed by staff and family survey responses and top ideas generated by our community-based Return to School and Teaching and Learning Task Forces. We are deeply grateful for the many individuals who contributed their time, energy, and talents. With the COVID-19 situation ever-changing, we will look to their recommendations around various scenarios in the weeks, months, and year ahead. 


Return Plan Highlights for the 2020-2021 School Year

  • In order to accommodate training and professional learning for staff, we are proposing that the first day of school for K-8 students is now Thursday, August 27.
  • All students will begin the school year in Remote Learning. Remote Learning for all students will begin on August 27 and continue through at least September 29. 
  • All families will have the option to select their preferred learning pathway for each of their children. On September 29, students may continue with Remote Learning or begin In-Person Learning (if it is deemed safe to do so). 
    • In-Person Instruction will be held four days per week (Tuesdays-Fridays). Mondays will be Remote Learning Days for all students.
    • If there are more families who select in-person learning for their children than our buildings can safely accommodate, it may be necessary to implement alternate student attendance schedules.


More about our Return Plan and Learning Pathways


We will continue to prioritize safety and high quality instruction, focusing on our most marginalized communities. To help our families make an informed decision, please review our document, Reimagining Education: A Guide to the 2020-2021 School Year. We believe this will answer many questions, including options for changing your child’s learning pathway, and will likely raise some new ones. Our guidance represents our best thinking at the current moment and is aligned with the instructional and health recommendations from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health. We will continue to work with our staff on operationalizing this plan and recognize that it is subject to change based on health conditions and state guidance.


Choosing a Learning Pathway for the 2020-2021 School Year


Between now and July 31 August 5, all parents/caregivers must login to the SISK12 Parent Portal and indicate their preferred learning pathway for each child. While the in-person pathway will not begin until late September at the earliest, we need families’ choices now so that critical decisions and preparations can be made. Please know that our team is committed to supporting our families. Below are the options to choose from in SISK12:


Remote Learning - Select this option if you are deciding that your child will continue engaging in District 65 remote learning at home and not attending school in person. Considerations will be given for socialization and interacting with their classmates as part of their virtual experience.


In-person Learning - Select this option if you are deciding that your child will attend school in person, starting on September 29th, with Illinois State Board of Education / Illinois Department of Public Health recommended safety measures employed, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, frequent cleaning of surfaces, and other practices.  In-person learning will be Tuesdays-Fridays, with Mondays being remote learning at home. If there are more children who select in person learning than the facility can safely accommodate, we may need to implement alternative schedules. 


Click here for instructions for making your selection in the SISK12 Parent Portal. Please note that when a parent/guardian logs in, you must change the site year to 2020-21. Once in SY20-21, you will see a yellow banner instructing you to fill out the required e-form. We will work diligently to communicate with every family about their options.


Planning for an Unknown Future


We are working closely with health officials to monitor local conditions and impact and keeping a close eye on state and national trends. If there is an update to State guidance or a local resurgence of the virus, it may mean that we need to make changes to our return plan. This could include the delay of In-Person Learning beyond September 29, to further protect the health and safety of our community. 


In the coming days and weeks, we look to share additional updates with our community. As we continue our path forward, we will root our decisions in health, safety, and equity. I truly believe we are all in this together. That we must be all in for each other. And, all in for our students. If we approach the coming year in this manner, I am confident that our D65 community will emerge stronger than ever.


Thank you for your support!



Dr. Devon Horton