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How Will Students Learn If They Need To Quarantine This Year? It Depends.

The school year is just around the corner for many school districts. DeKalb students will return on Wednesday.

This year is looking a bit different, and families can’t choose to learn remotely. But what happens if students need to quarantine because of a positive test or close contact?

Kyle Gerdes says that’s the only time students will learn from home. He is DeKalb Public Schools’ director of student services.

“Depending on the student and how they access their education, one size fits all probably isn't the best approach,” he said.

Some students will have a remote teacher overseeing a group of students in the same grade.

“I think the ideal scenario for us is we do have a remote teacher who can oversee those students who are learning remotely. And in some grade levels we've been able to secure that, and then others we haven't at this point.”

He says the district has had a difficult time hiring remote teachers due to the teacher shortage. Other students will livestream into classes from home depending on what works best for them and their teachers.

Gerdes says some parents are requesting home/hospital instruction, where students would learn totally from home because of a medical condition.

Last year, nearby districts like Sycamore saw over 300 students quarantined at once. With the highly-infectious Delta COVID-19 variant, some parents are worried about students this fall — especially as children under 12 are still not eligible for the COVID vaccine.

The Illinois State Board of Education is also partnering with SHIELD Illinois to provide COVID testing. Gerdes anticipates they’ll do surveillance testing at least once a week “in the near future,” but they’re still finalizing plans. That means they won’t have them in time for the first day of school.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.