BRADLEY — With Region 7 now in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan and Kankakee County school staff starting to receive second doses of the Moderna vaccine, Bradley Elementary School District 61 is planning to extend the school day by an hour and 45 minutes starting March 8.
Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School officials say the school is tentatively planning to bring more students back into the building starting March 8, though specific details have not yet been announced.
In Bradley elementary schools, the school day will increase to five hours and 45 minutes for both in-person and remote students, and lunch will be served at all three schools as well.
Until this point, the schools have been open for four-hour days, with an hour of remote instruction assigned after school and lunch served grab-and-go only.
New school times will be 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. for Bradley Central, 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. for Bradley East, and 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. for Bradley West.
One of the main hurdles schools have had in terms of a longer school day has been figuring out how to make socially distanced lunch periods work with limited space.
Superintendent Scott Goselin said each of the schools are determining spacing and schedules around lunch. For example, the schools might alternate a period of recess and lunch so that students eat at different times.
In Bradley Central, the gym will be used in addition to the lunchroom to allow more space for social distancing. Partitions in gyms and cafeterias will also likely be used to separate groups of students eating lunch. Unfortunately, the use of gym space for lunch might mean less physical education time for some students, he noted.
“We’re going to try to see how it works,” Goselin said.
The goal is to transition back to full school days before the end of the school year, though a remote-learning option will be offered through the end of the school year regardless, he said.
When the warmer months come around, the challenge of wearing masks all day with some buildings not fully air conditioned will again be a concern.
“We are trying to get a plan in place, to get to that point of maybe getting more air conditioning units in classrooms to help with that process,” Goselin said.
Bradley elementary school staff are scheduled to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Feb. 24.