Amid some criticism, the Minooka Community High School District 111 Board of Education this week is moving ahead with allowing students and their families to choose how they intend to start the school year.

The school board approved a plan comprised of hybrid and remote learning options during its meeting on Tuesday.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Lee said a return to learning the way the district had pre-pandemic would be wrong. 

Those choosing the hybrid learning model will be split into one of two groups to provide for an alternating schedule of in-person and remote instruction. Under the remote learning model, students rotate between live interactive lessons and possible activities that do not take place in the same place or at the same time. 

As some board members voiced full support for the district’s decision, others voted with reservations. Board Secretary Wendi Arlis said she believes officials did what’s best for everyone. 

Not everyone was on board with plan. One public commenter spoke on behalf of the Minooka Education Association, pleading with members of the school board and the district’s administration to reconsider. Public commenter 1 

Lee had this response.

The district’s survey results show more than half of all student and parent respondents feel very or mostly comfortable returning to school in the fall for in-person instruction. It also reveals either in-person or blended learning is preferred over remote instruction.

Another public commenter had this to say. 

Should a teacher need to work from home, wear a mask and a shield, increase social distancing or require other accommodations, the district intends to be flexible. 

The district is in the process of forming a memorandum of understanding with the Minooka Education Association. John Troy, assistant superintendent of business and general counsel for the district, said the sick pay the teachers are entitled to will not be impacted. 

Officials approved the district’s plan for starting the school year in a 7-0 vote. Among those voting yes and expressing some reservations were Board Members Dustin Heap and Deirdra Crye. The first day of the school year is Aug. 12.