New changes come to online learning


photo by Zoey Hayes

Fictional return to school doctor’s note for a remote learner.

This September it was established that after the first quarter, students would need a doctor’s note to transfer to remote learning. The question at large is, is this an Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE) or Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) regulation?

“When we did the return to school registration, we did not require a doctor’s note but still used that basis for offering remote learning within the blended learning plan,” said Meridian High School’s Superintendent Andy Pygott. “Once the enrollment numbers were established at each building, best efforts were made when possible to distribute to teachers a fair number of both in-person students and remote students.”

Community members don’t know how this would change the lives and regimens of the students district-wide.

“This task was much easier for K-8 students and more difficult for high school students. But overall, we then wanted to ensure the consistency in numbers so that teachers could reasonably manage the 2 very different forms of providing instruction to students,” said Pygott. “If a student’s family speaks with their family medical provider, a doctor’s note would note that the student has either a medical history issue that makes remote learning more beneficial or that someone in the household has health history concerns.”

Though, why require a doctor’s note? When allowed to transfer to remote learning freely, students were allowed to learn time management skills as well as how to properly stay on top of their work. 

“Overall, the goal is to provide instructional stability for teachers to adequately handle the workload for these 2 very different types of instruction.  In addition, we want to ensure that we advocate for in-person instruction as the most effective unless the issue is related to a medical concern as mentioned versus a personal choice for not attending school,” said Pygott.