PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — About 10,900 Peoria Public Schools students are back in the classroom.
District 150 returned to full-week in-person learning on Monday after operating on a Hybrid A-B schedule since January 19. The returning students have physically been in class every other day and many haven’t shared a classroom with each other in almost a year.
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, the district’s superintendent, said she toured many of the schools on Monday and said it was an exciting day for all.
“I visited 11 buildings and could see the enthusiasm from everyone, from principals, from students, from teachers, from staff.” Dr. Kherat said.
Dr. Kherat said she credits the principals for working so hard with their leadership teams and coming up with scenarios that would make the transition possible. She said buildings were even reorganized to comply with safety guidelines.
“I noticed that in a lot of the classrooms the desks were removed, they were spread out, they were even pushed back so they could protect the teachers as well,” Dr. Kherat said. “I know some kids may have forgotten their masks so there was a mask station. The buildings spent a lot of time planning and visualizing.”
She said through the entire process she’s learned in-person learning is a much more focused way to educate students.
“I think the number one lesson is face-to-face instruction is the best mode for the majority of our students because they need the direction, they need that face-to-face instruction,” Dr. Kherat said.
Dr. Kherat said covid-19 testing is still a major priority for the district and she said more than 75% of the district’s staff has received at least one vaccination.
“So with the distancing, with the PCR testing, with the antigen testing, you know with all those other supports we are well-positioned to make this thing happen,” Dr. Kherat said.”
This district’s spokesperson Thomas Bruch said there are still about 1,676 students in virtual school. He said they are in the process of phasing some of their special programs back too.