With health metrics under review, District 65 delays hybrid learning launch


Daily file photo by Patrick Svitek

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 Education Center, at 1500 McDaniel Avenue. At a meeting of the district’s Finance Committee, school board members discussed potential budget cuts to address a $1.9 million shortfall in the FY22 budget.

Maia Spoto, City Editor

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 will not launch its hybrid learning model Jan 19 as previously planned and is currently reviewing the health metrics in place for reopening schools, Superintendent Devon Horton announced Tuesday.

District guidelines had previously included meeting a three-day rolling COVID-19 positivity rate of 8 percent or lower for Suburban Cook County, metrics for hospital admissions rates and a positivity rate of 3 percent or lower for the D65 attendance area zip code. However, the district is now reconsidering its local COVID-19 targets under guidance from local public health officials, Horton wrote in the release.

“I understand that it may feel like the bar has changed over time,” Horton wrote. “And, the truth is that it has.”

Horton also wrote that he is convening an advisory group of medical professionals, D65 staff members and parents to review research on returning to in-person learning and consider the district’s health metrics.

From the advisory group’s conversations, an update will be released Jan 20 on reopening metrics and on a potential start to the hybrid instruction model.

“We also believe that in-person learning is optimal,” Horton wrote. “We know there are students who are struggling in a remote setting and families who have shared concerns over their child’s mental health. For those reasons, we must continue to pursue an in-person return option as soon as health conditions allow.”

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