Dear District 30 Family,
Thank you for another great week! A year ago, this week, our school buildings closed as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. We were all thrown into what we termed as a new, temporary normal. We worked collaboratively to generate our new normal, as we put models in place that have safely educated our students in-person, as we committed to our full-remote students. This year, we started school on August 20 and continue to be proud of our teachers’ commitment, students’ engagement, and parents’ support. It is together that we will make it to the other side of this global pandemic.
Thank you to Dr. Brown, Dr. Carlson, our Board, students, and teacher representatives who all helped with today’s Elementary Capacity Project groundbreaking ceremony. It was exciting to see our students first break ground for this essential project that will add essential classroom space, align kindergarten at Wescott with our neighborhood philosophy, pull most learning out of our hallways, and generate flexible space and small-group learning areas.
Area COVID-19 rates in Northfield Township and Region 10 rose a bit this week. We still hope to return to a downward trend. Please continue to respect the risks this virus poses by wearing masks and social distancing when you gather with anyone outside your household. As you consider your plans for Spring Break, please remain safe and committed to the safety of our entire community.
Included below are a few notes as we continue this journey together:
State of the District Video: In this video, we review upcoming testing, spring break plans with travel guidance, share the new Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department Health guidance, reflect on where we have been, and exciting opportunities for next year. Thank you in advance for taking the time to view this important State of the District video.
Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools Support D30’s Targeted Full In-Person Learning in the Fall: As I mentioned last week, the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidance allows social distancing in the range of 3’ to 6’ in classrooms with vaccinated staff. However, the guidance maintains the requirement to quarantine close contacts who have been within 6’ of a positive COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.
Our clear target for the start of school in the fall of 2021 is full in-person learning! As we contemplate school next year, vaccinations will be widely distributed to adults, including at-risk adults in our community. It is reasonable to expect COVID-19 rates and risks to drop in support of a full in-person return to school in the fall of 2021! We will monitor the evolving remote guidance that currently references “families of students who are at increased risk of severe illness.” Look for registration information at the beginning of May!
The new guidance offers tremendous support for our defined direction for the fall. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we look forward to all that the fall will offer!
We have carefully analyzed these new guidelines and will finish the year strong in our current Phased Operations Models. A change could not occur before the end of April due to delayed vaccination availability for staff. A shift at that time would add no more than 13 in-person instructional days and would create significant disruption to our learners and staff. Doing so now would also break our bubbles of students, and if we did it right, it would require us to reschedule students.
Return to School Protocols After Spring Break: The CDC, IDPH, and CCDPH all discourage non-essential travel. If you are traveling over Spring Break, please complete our travel survey and review our return-to-school protocols in your school’s weekly flyer or the Travel Guidance email. Please review Travel Guidance contained within our Parent Phased Operations FAQs.
RUVNA Updates: When we return from Spring Break, please read the RUVNA questions carefully. Changes to the travel question have been incorporated.
Board Meeting: Please read more about the meeting in the March 18 Board Brief.
School Support: Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help through our teaching staff, if and when the need arises. Remaining connected and accessing the many resources in our community is a strength.
I look forward to continuing our partnership as we care for our students and each other. Have a great spring break!
Dr. Brian K. Wegley