Proposed plan could put District 150 students back in schools as early as October

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– A possible return to schools for Peoria students, Monday night the Peoria Public School Board proposed a return to in-person learning for students in Kindergarten, First Grade and with special needs.

These students are what school district leaders say are most vulnerable for learning loss. If enacted, students could return to the classrooms as early as next month.

At Monday night’s school board meeting Peoria Public Schools introduced a return to in-person learning plan for kindergartners, first graders and special needs students. Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said she presented the plan.

“It was mostly well received at last night’s meeting,” Kherat said.

Dr Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said they’ve been monitoring COVID-19 levels and determined it was safe to send high-risk students of learner’s loss back to classrooms.

“I’m very concerned about ensuring that they’re able to get that reading and fundamentals of reading support,” Kherat said.

Kherat said the plan was well received from both parents and board members. Board of education member Gregory Wilson said he supported the plan.

“The good thing about this plan is that we changed things at the last minute so there was already a solid, effective plan for bringing students into schools,” Wilson said.

Students and staff will be wearing masks, receiving daily temperature checks and social distancing. The plan allows parents to choose from three-tiers and consists of going every other Friday.

Wilson said the initial decision to go all remote was right at the time, but now with lower numbers it’s time to phase students back.

“It was really the safety of our students. With the rate declining as it is now, I feel a lot safer and at peace with getting our students back into the buildings,” Wilson said.

In order to bring some students back there must only be 50 to 150 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people anything over that students must stay online.

The schools say this phased-in person learning model is optional and if they’re more comfortable staying remote they can.

One parent reached out via Facebook to WMBD and said:

“To be honest I’m not ready for my kids to be back in person at school. I think with the upcoming flu season coming it’s a recipe for disaster. If we have the option to keep our kids home with virtual learning we will take that option,”-District 150 Parent

This plan was just proposed and has not been made official by any school officials. A tentative start day will be announced later this week.

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