GIFFORD — The majority of students will attend classes in person at Gifford Grade School this fall, at least initially, under a plan approved by the school board.

The blended/modified day will include class attendance from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Others who are attending remotely will have assignments given to them through Google Classroom and will have access to teachers from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

The plan will be reviewed Sept. 4 to see if any changes need to be made. The school’s return-to-school committee will assess and make a recommendation to the school board on whether the plan should change.

Superintendent Jay Smith said the plan was one of two recommended for consideration by the committee —comprised of teachers and community members — for the school board to consider.

The other plan proposed half of the students attending from 8:30 to 11 a.m., and the other half from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

“Whether you’re small, medium or large, every school district has its own issues,” Smith said. “For us, one would be transportation, trying to maintain social distancing on a bus. Also in our classrooms.”

He said with the blended model, the school will do its best to keep desks as far apart as possible, but they won’t be 6 feet.

Smith said Gifford GS is trying to use Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines as much as possible.

“We may have to modify it,” Smith said. “Also I just found out ISBE sent out new guidelines for schools. I haven’t had a chance to look at that. I wouldn’t be surprised between now and Aug. 17 it’s not modified.”

Aug. 17 is the first day teachers will be at school. The first day of student attendance will be the next day with an 11:45 a.m. dismissal.

Parents were surveyed to determine what learning model they preferred, and 88 percent “said they wanted their kid back to school in one shape or form,” Smith said. The remaining 12 percent of students will learn remotely.

Registration for all but kindergarten students will be online only from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3.

In-person kindergarten registration and information night will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 3.  

Other business

The board also:

— Approved the employment of Vicki Maxwell as eighth-grade teacher.

— Approved the resignation of Mitch Pruemer as athletic director.

— Set a budget hearing for 5:55 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.

— Approved the 2020-21 student handbook.

— Learned tax money is “trickling in” from the county, but that the district didn’t receive what it was supposed to by June 30.

— Learned the audit will be completed July 31-Aug. 1.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com