District 205 students in west suburban Elmhurst are now all back in their classrooms with the return of eighth graders, juniors and seniors to schools on Monday.
Students in other grades began returning to school buildings in September.
Superintendent Dr. Dave Moyer said he thinks District 205 did the right thing by bringing back students in shifts.
“I think that that’s given us an ability to make sure that we have the proper systems in place,” Moyer said.
Students told NBC 5 it is good to be back in the classroom.
“It’s nice being in school to actually see your teacher for the first time,” said freshman Adam Fennell.
However, the learning environment is quite different than students are used to experiencing.
“There’s going to be a lot of social distancing. You’re not going to be able to talk to your friends a whole lot because you’re gonna have to keep moving in the hallway,” said sophomore Connor Hess. “But it’s a lot better, more fun and it’s nice to be back in school.”
District 205 is operating on a hybrid model. High school students, for example, are learning at home some days of the week and they are at school for five hours on other days of the week.
“Our kids have been great following the social distancing guidelines in the hallways, following our procedures and protocols in the classroom and for a first day back with all our kids, they did an amazing job,” said York High School principal Shahe Bagdasarian.
The Elmhurst Teachers Council said it is happy that students are back, but it has concerns it would like addressed.
“A student or a teacher could be symptomatic and yet it might take one or two days to find out the results of the COVID test,” said ETC president Max Schoenberg. “In the meantime, the close contacts are not notified.”
In response, the district issued a statement reading in part:
"The safety of both staff members and students is very important to us. D205 follows IDPH guidelines and respects medical privacy when making notifications to staff and families.”
The district also said teachers deserve a lot of credit and are getting better at teaching in multiple ways simultaneously.