Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week

Published 2:11 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NILES – On Tuesday, communications from Niles Community Schools Superintendent Dan Applegate went out to families across the district to let them know the district would have an emergency district closing on Wednesday. Resuming on Thursday and Friday for in-person classes are seven of the district’s schools, though Ballard Elementary and Niles High School would continue for remote learning on through the rest of the week. Friday was scheduled to be a half-day for all students across the district.

“Tuesday afternoon, we were informed that transportation and other service providers were experiencing a shortage in staff, and it was unlikely that these services could be provided Wednesday. The shortage was due to a combination of COVID and non-COVID related issues,” said Applegate in the letter. “Our administrative team came together and quickly worked through the logistics to reopen all schools for the remainder of the week. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so.”

Applegate continued in his letter to families that the district had made it a goal to maximize in-person learning. The district worked to provide county-wide and local support services to students.

“It was determined that we could functionally only open one elementary school requiring bussing for in-person instruction and Niles High School would have to move to remote instruction,” Applegate said in the letter. “In looking at the individual challenges of the elementary schools, it was evident that if Ballard Elementary went remote, we were able to maximize our supports and services.”

Applegate called the changes “unfortunate,” but thanked staff members, service providers and the transportation department for dedication to continuing in-person instruction throughout the year.

“I am proud that we have been able to remain open for more than 95 percent of school days despite the uncertainty and unpredictability of the COVID pandemic,” Applegate said.

In the letter to families, the superintendent states that all schools are expected to reopen on Monday, April 26 for regular instruction.

Applegate thanked families for their patience and flexibility, and encouraged families with questions to reach out to the school their student attends for support.

“I assure you that we will continue to work toward our goal of providing safe and in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year,” Applegate said in the letter.

On the Niles High School Facebook, a status update Tuesday evening said transportation for off-campus programs would still be running.