Belleville Schools provide e-lessons, meals during closures

Superintendent says its going well so far

Brian Kelly
March 20, 2020 - 12:56 pm
empty classroom

BELLEVILLE, IL (KMOX) - Friday is day three for Illinois students learning from home, and the superintendent of one Metro East school district says, given the situation, it's going well, so far.

Belleville District 118 superintendent Ryan Boike tells KMOX teachers are at home manning their email and providing online lessons.

"A lot of them," he Boike, "are doing some Google hangouts with students, so they can kind of conduct class almost as if they were still together."

As for students who don’t have a device or internet access, Boike says, "We have a document we are sharing with families that offers different options to acces free internet. If a child needs a device, we're limited as how we can help them in that matter, but there have been staff members who have extra devices that say, 'if you need a device I have one that you can borrow.'" 

The district is also providing free wifi outside its 11 schools and central office and is teaming up with Belleville District 201, which has buses offering a free hot spot at locations around the city. In addition, parents can pick up pencil/paper activities at the schools from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day. 

Another challenge is delivering meals to students who need them. Boike says District 118, the high schools and co-op districts in Belleville delivered 2,572 packs of food on Thursday alone.

"The food service production ladies that normally do a lot of the behind the scenes work are also a big part of this. Those are individuals who are really putting the hours in to make sure our kids are being fed."

And, Boike says, they're doing it while practicing social distancing. 

"We have them spread out in different rooms and we also have indicated that whatever part of the assembly line you're on you're the required distance apart, hand sanitizer, wash your hands frequently."

Boike says the district has made a few adjustments over the first three days, including combining bus routes for meal deliveries, and more will be made in the days to come.

One of his concerns as the days go by, he says, is making sure that a few of his district's 3,900 students won't get the best they want them to get. But, he feels the district is trying to provide every resource available to meet their needs. 

"We have a lot of resilient people. We have a lot of people who are willing to do whatever they can to help students. Not just our instructional staff, our support staff but people from the community."

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