The pause of in-person instruction at Riverside-Brookfield High School will last at least one more week. On Nov. 27, the school announced that classes would be conducted remotely during the week of Nov. 30.
RBHS suspended in-person instruction on Nov. 13 as cases of COVID-19 spiked in suburban Cook County.
As of Nov. 29, the rolling average positivity rate for Brookfield was 11.59 percent while it was 10.24 percent for Riverside and North Riverside, according to Northwestern University School of Medicine’s online COVID-19 dashboard.
Twenty-eight students and six staff members at RBHS have tested positive for the virus since the school year began, with 22 of those students and five of the staff members testing positive since the start of the second quarter on Oct. 19.
Superintendent Kevin Skinkis has said school officials will decide every Friday what to do for the following week. RBHS began the school year in August with 100 percent remote learning but began offering a hybrid option for the second quarter, where students had the option of attending school in person one day a week.
The plan had been to quickly increase in-person student attendance to two days a week, but was derailed as COVID cases surged in November.
Many students had chosen to stay home even when in person instruction was offered because the in-school experience was essentially the same as what students experienced at home, with instruction delivered over Zoom.
Students who had been attending class in person say that it has been a strange experience because so few students were there.
“It’s really awkward,” said sophomore Carrol Creedon. “Sometimes I’m the only one, sometimes there’s maybe two other kids. At the most there’s only been four kids.”
Many students and parents have also complained about remote learning, saying that all the screen time is tiring and that the experience is not very good.
“Overall, I’d say it’s been, I don’t want to sound too harsh, but it’s been terrible,” Creedon said. “That’s no fault of my teachers or my classmates, it’s just, Zoom.”
Lyons Township High School is also still doing all remote learning this week after suspending in person instruction on Nov. 13. LTHS officials will decide later this week whether to resume in person instruction next week.
Komarek, LaGrange D102 still offer in-person learning
Only two local elementary school districts are offering in-person instruction this week — Komarek School in North Riverside and LaGrange-Brookfield District 102, which includes Congress Park School in Brookfield.
Komarek began offering in-person instruction in October. Komarek students who attend school in person do so for a half day, five days a week.
Only 36 percent of Komarek students have chosen to attend school in person, but the return-to-school option has been successful for those who have decided to return to classrooms.
No students and two staff members at Komarek School have tested positive for COVID-19 for since in-person instruction resumed in October, according to Komarek District 94 Superintendent Todd Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald said that the relatively few students attending school in person has allowed the school to easily implement social distancing and other mitigation strategies.
A saliva testing protocol has helped District 102 stay open for a hybrid schedule.
Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 has suspended in-person instruction this week to guard against a surge of cases after Thanksgiving, but officials tentatively plan to resume a hybrid schedule on Dec. 7.
“We’re really using this as a way to practice and get kids knowing remote in the event that the governor was going to force schools to close, which he did not do,” said District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski. “I really think we’ll be back in the hybrid model next week. The numbers look good right now, but we’ll see how they play out.”
Riverside Elementary School District 96 has suspended in-person instruction until January, while Lyons-Brookfield School District 103, which includes Lincoln School in Brookfield, has been on a 100-percent remote schedule all year.