The exterior of Oswego High School
Credit: OHS Wikipedia webpage.

In an email that went out to Oswego School District 308 staff members this afternoon, it was announced that Ignite 308, a professional development day for staff members across the district held at Oswego High School on Tuesday, March 17, has been canceled, and that the day will be used by teachers to develop activities for students that could be done in the event of school closures as a result of COVID-19 concerns. 

Many Chicago-area schools, such as Arlington Heights District 214 have already taken precautionary measures, including canceling co-curricular activities through the end of spring break and looked into e-learning plans in the event of a breakout within the community. Aurora University will suspend all classroom instruction beginning at 10 p.m. Thursday and resume online or other remote coursework on Wednesday, March 18. Canceling Ignite 308 could mean a potential extended school cancellation may be in the back of the district and school board’s minds as COVID-19 becomes more prevalent state-wide.

“Instead of attending the Ignite sessions at Oswego High School, staff will spend the day at their home school on Tuesday to work on creating assignments or activities that students can do outside of school,” the email stated.

The email also told staff not to begin these plans as more information will be released.

While Interim Assistant Principal for Building and Operations Darren Howard was unable to confirm the cancellation of Ignite 308 when asked for comment, various members of the OHS faculty confirmed the information and contents of the email.

If the district were to shut down schools for an extended period of time, the district can use “Act of God Days” that would be implemented after the use of all Proposed Emergency Days. These days must be approved by the Regional and State Superintendents of Education, and students would not be required to make up these days at the end of the school year.

Looking forward, however, presents problems for the district. Not all students have access to internet or technology at home, thus hindering potential lesson plans teachers can implement in the event of a school shut-down. Another concern is the College Board and its schedule for AP testing. The College Board has already canceled the March SAT in some countries, but AP exams are only accessible once a year, with only one make-up date. Losing these opportunities for in-class instruction may be the difference in some students’ scores on their AP tests.

More information will be provided on 42Fifty on SD308’s handling of COVID-19 as it develops. For more information on event cancelations at OHS, check out our live updates.

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