Sunday, August 14, 2022

More than Covid keeps kids home at E. Peoria


Just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t mean school administrators don’t face other reopening challenges in their school buildings.

Students won’t be able to return to in-person learning at East Peoria Community High School in Illinois until at least the end of October, according to a report in the Peoria Journal-Star.

The district’s return-to-learn plan had students starting the year with remote learning, splitting their eight class periods every two days with four 75-minute class periods each day, but Superintendent Marjorie Greuter told the paper she was hoping to return to in-person learning by mid-September.

Then the rains came on July 15, flooding the parking lot and industrial wing of the high school with mud and debris. The damage was so extensive that an inspection revealed a total asbestos abatement would be necessary before flooring could be replaced.

“There was a lot of damage to walls and doors and, now that the asbestos abatement is finished, there’s a lot of carpentry, door fabrication, and painting to do—along with 10 full days of flooring installation,” she was quoted as saying.

And that’s going to take longer than she had originally hoped.

About 10 percent of the students at the high school have decided to finish out the semester with remote learning, regardless of the date the school will open for in-person instruction, the Journal-Star reported. Ms Greuter said she plans to notify students and their families by email at least a week before that date comes.

“We want the kids back in as soon as possible,” the paper quoted her as saying. “There’s so much more we can do to support them in their learning when we have them in front of us. The social-emotional component of their education is extremely difficult to replicate in a virtual environment.

“We know we have kids that are struggling and need to be in the building. We also know that we have families with true concerns about Covid. I’m thankful we can provide for both groups. I just wish the in-person group could come back sooner.”

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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