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Some new rules to apply in next U-46 school year


By Seth Hancock
  Some new practices will take place in School District U-46 in the 2019-2020 school year as stated in district press releases.
  Included were some new guidelines on physical education (PE) class exemptions as well as changes in cell phone usage in secondary classrooms.
  PE exemptions have sparked controversy in recent years with several students claiming they were unjustly denied exemptions. Recently, U-46 applied for and was granted by the state the ability to offer more exemptions.
  “The District remains committed to providing physical education for our students,” a release states. “We recognize that these classes can form the foundation for lifelong healthy habits and participation in individual and team sports. At the same time, our parents and students have sought flexibility in recent years to better support students’ academic interests and career paths.”
  Starting in the fall of 2019, middle and high school students can receive athletic exemptions “if they can provide documentation of ongoing participating in a National/International sanctioned athletic program that requires 15 or more hours of training on a weekly basis between Monday and Friday,” the release states, and high school students who compete in IHSA sports can receive an exemption over the duration of their sport’s season.
  Furthermore, high schoolers in marching band can receive an exemption as can seniors who need to take an academic class in order to graduate. A special education student can also receive an exemption if it’s dictated in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  Starting in the fall of 2020, further exemptions will also be allowed including a middle school student “whose schedule does not allow for elective opportunities may choose a PE exemption to be able to experience electives courses,” the release states, and a high school senior can “request an exemption to replace PE with a post-secondary college or career enrichment course” provided they do not “have more than two open periods, including lunch, in their schedule.”
  Regarding cell phones, another district releases states: “School District U-46 is dedicated to providing our students with a safe and engaging learning environment, free from as many distractions as possible. Starting with the 2019-20 school year, students in middle and high schools will not be allowed to use their cell phones during classes.”
  The release states that some students’ IEPs “may require the use of a personal technology device or phone” and parents are asked to speak with their counselors or administrators.
  According to the district, cell phone usage was required at times for educational purposes but with all secondary students being given Chromebooks that need is no longer there. The district is installing cell phone holders in each secondary classroom over the summer, and students can “store their phones in a pocket or backpack while in class,” the release states.
  School administrators can make their own rules and regulations on cell phone usage in hallways.

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