Oak Park River Forest High School announces all remote learning beginning Aug. 19

OAK Park, Ill. (WLS) -- Shelia Hardin is in the process of converting a bedroom into classroom.

Until it's ready, the Oak Park River Forest High School calculus teacher is gearing up for remote learning at her dining room table.

"There is no teacher that hasn't been thinking about this all summer, no matter what district they are in," Hardin said.

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OPRF was one of the first Chicago-area districts to announce all remote learning for its 3,400 students.

In terms of safety, in school learning proved to be too challenging.

"It really came down to the unit of instruction, which is one classroom and what can fit into that classroom," said Greg Johnson, OPRF Assistant Superintendent.

Johnson said studentsshould expect a very different experience than last spring.

Traditional letter grades will be given and 50% of learning will be synchronous, Johnson said.

"Synchronous learning is based around the idea you are in a live exchange with your teacher, whether small group, one on one or entire class," Johnson said.

Quizzes and tests will likely move away from multiple choice and be replaced with essays and qualitative assessments. For Hardin, it means more creative ways to teach math.

"What about asking not students to do 15 problems, but asking them to do two but on video while they are verbally explaining process to me," she said.

Hardin is convinced her students will get a much better learning experience remotely than in class with all the COVID-19 restrictions.

However, some students remain worried.

"I'm a music student, so I'm not sure how we are going to do music," Isabella Nache said.

"It's kind of nerve wracking, but I hope I can get through it," said Janine Acosta.

The school board is expected to vote on remote plan.

Students are slated to begin classes on August 19.
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