Peoria Public Schools students will start the year virtual learning

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — After a long night of discussions Monday, the Peoria Public Schools Board of Education has decided to start the school year off virtually through the first semester.

Monday, marked the last open session Peoria Public Schools board meeting before the school year starts.

PPS was previously standing by the hybrid learning model. The original proposal included having (A) students heading back to the classrooms starting Aug. 19 and having (B) students do in-person instruction the following day.

The Peoria Federation of Teachers Union asked the board for clarity on the school return-to-school plan. The group said they were worried about their own safety under the in-person plan.

Union members addressed the school board Monday night seeking answers to lingering questions.

The union told WMBD they sent four pages of questions to board members and a request for more information regarding a retreat plan, used if COVID-19 begins to spread in schools. Union members said they want this information in writing.

Katy Endress with the Peoria County Health Department said if students do test positive for the virus, that does not mean all students must be sent home. Endress said the department will work closely with the instructor to identify which students were within six feet and begin contact tracing.

School leaders said approximately 12,000 students were expected to register for school this year. So far, 5,700 have registered. The board wants to remind families that you can still register for virtual learning.

(UPDATE: 11 a.m.) — School district spokesperson Thomas Bruch sent an email to parents Tuesday saying one of the registration hub sites lost power after Monday evening’s severe storm and has not recovered power since then.

Due to the limitations, Bruch said the registration hub services are being postponed until Thursday, Aug. 13. Families will still be able to register for the school year through the school office during open office hours this week.

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