AMBOY - Last week, Amboy High School students and families were notified of a temporary move to remote learning for all AHS students. A letter sent by Amboy CUSD 272 Superintendent Joshua Nichols on Oct. 8 explained that the district had consulted with the Lee County Health Department and then decided to pause in-person instruction at Amboy High School from Oct. 12-23. During this two-week period, all high school students have been transitioned to remote learning.
“This is in direct response to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the community,” Nichols’ letter stated. “In the last seven weeks of school, we’ve had two confirmed positive COVID cases of students attending in-person at the high school.”
Nichols said both positive cases were linked back to either outside events and/or family members and were not traced back to the high school itself. After contact tracing all cases directly affecting the high school, they had to exclude 35 students and two staff members for two weeks. “When we combine these excluded students with the students who were already participating in remote learning, the high school now has 50 percent of the student body remote learning,” he said. “This many students learning remotely requires us to transform how we are teaching and is why we are transitioning the high school - and only the high school - at this time to full remote learning.”
On Oct. 12, high school teachers used the morning to plan and prepare for the transition and in the afternoon all classes met briefly so teachers could explain to students the new schedule going forward. Starting on Oct. 13, the high school was on its regular 8:10 a.m.-2:18 p.m. daily schedule. The previously scheduled 2:20-3:20 p.m. Remote Learning time period has been converted to office hours so teachers are able to meet and provide help to students individually. “We highly encourage all students to attend the live-streamed classes during this two-week period if they are able to do so,” Nichols said.
Whiteside Area Career Center students still have the option to attend WACC, and the bus will continue to leave at its regularly scheduled time. In addition, AHS still planned to administer the SAT on Oct. 14 at the Amboy Community Building for families and students comfortable with coming and take the test. The makeup test date is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Athletics and extracurricular activities are continuing to practice and compete for student-athletes and their families who choose to do so and are not in quarantine.
“This decision was not made lightly as we recognize the inconvenience and challenges it will cause families,” Nichols said. “However, we felt it was the best way to protect the health and welfare of our students and staff as we navigate this unprecedented time together.”
Moving forward, the high school will keep the lines of communication open with families. They encourage everyone to practice handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask in public. “Practicing these preventative measures will help keep our students in school, where we know they learn best,” Nichols said. “We will continue to monitor conditions at both Central and the Junior High and the community at large to determine if an adaptive pause of in-person instruction is required at either of those buildings as well.
“We appreciate your willingness to put your trust in our school district to provide a healthy environment for your son or daughter at school. This is a difficult time for everyone, but we are all doing our best to support our students. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions at either (815)857-2164 or [email protected] or [email protected]”