Country Meadows Families,
It was so wonderful to see the happiness as our students experienced some “Halloween normalcy” this year. From our fun costume parade (CLICK HERE for our parade recording) to the thoughtful classroom parties planned by our generous PTO volunteers, fun was had by all! We appreciate the continued support, and we know how much time and effort went into planning fun opportunities for our students this year. We hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween weekend, and we look forward to hearing all about it from our students on Monday!
Meghan Bird - Principal
NEW *IDPH Guidance Update*
Our top priority is to keep kids in school with as little disruption as possible and we need your help and support to do so. As we head into colder fall and winter weather and we begin to spend more time indoors, we encourage you to stay vigilant when it comes to health and safety measures. The recent interest survey indicated that the parents of over 1,600 District 96 students are interested in scheduling vaccination appointments for their 5-11 year olds as they become available in the coming weeks. However, we are mindful of the continued risks that COVID presents to the school community and families of KCSD 96. The Illinois Department of Public Health has released guidance on how to celebrate more safely during the 2021 Fall season.
Guidance on Celebrations from the IDPH
As we continue through Fall and head into the holiday season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is issuing updated guidance to help people celebrate more safely as we continue to battle COVID-19.
Masks are currently required, per Executive Order, in all indoor public locations in Illinois. A costume mask is NOT a substitute for a well-fitting mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a costume mask over a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is not recommended because it could make breathing more difficult. Safer options include choosing a costume that does not come with a costume mask, or find a costume that incorporates a face covering.
Trick-or-treating outdoors in small groups is best, but if outdoors is not an option, there are steps people can take to make indoor trick-or-treating safer. Those handing out tricks or treats indoors should open doors and windows as much as possible to promote increased ventilation and wear a mask. It is also important for everyone handing out or receiving treats to wash their hands.
Alternatives to door-to-door trick-or-treating can include setting up tables in a parking lot or other safe outdoor area where individually wrapped treats can be set out or holding an outdoor costume parade for kids along with a parent/guardian.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, do not participate in any Halloween or Fall events.
More information on Halloween and Fall Guidance is on the IDPH website at: https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/Halloween.
NEW *Indoor Air Quality Report*
In response to a recent parent concern, District 96 contracted with our Environmental Consultants from JMS Environmental Associates to do an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Survey. The IAQ analyses test for this IAQ included the following: 1) Airborne Microbial Spores; 2) Direct Microscopic Swab Examination; 3) Airborne Ultra-Fine Dust Particulates; and 4) Volatile Organic Compounds / Carbon Dioxide / Temperature / Relative Humidity.
In summary, during our consultation with JMS to review the results of the IAQ, the consultants indicated the following:
- A high level study was conducted.
- The ultrafine particles results indicate that the system is working very well and that a good filtration system is in place.
- The air quality indoors is excellent and presents no health risks or concerns.
- It is accurate to say that the indoor air quality inside our schools is better than the air quality outdoors, due to good ventilation and filtration.
- In District 96, we have both processes and metrics in place as a part of our ongoing facilities-management plan that would trigger the need for any future assessment. As always, we will continue to implement and monitor those on an ongoing basis.
- Below you will find a link to the full report as provided by JMS and a document where you can submit any questions that you may have regarding the results.
NEW *Clubs and Activity Sign Up*
We are excited to offer clubs and activities at Country Meadows. Please use the correct form/s below to indicate your child's interest in participating in the clubs/activities described. Start and end dates for each club will be communicated after registration numbers have been analyzed in an effort to safely socially distance all participants.
Given our challenges with transportation this year, we are NOT able to provide an after school bus. All students must be picked up promptly at 4:00pm.
Art Club Sign Up - DUE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH
- Join Mrs. Grossman and Mrs. Abad on THURSDAYs from 3:00-4:00 to enhance your love for art by creating various forms of artwork.
Culture Crew Sign Up - DUE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH
- Join Mrs. Humphries and Ms. Gorodiski on THURSDAYs from 3:00-4:00 to explore various cultures from around the world!
Introduction to Indian Culture Sign Up - DUE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH
- Join Mrs. Raghavendran on TUESDAYs from 3:00-4:00 to learn more about the culture of India! All students will be invited to dive into Indian culture by creating kolam/rangoli Indian art, learning and practicing some Bollywood dance moves, and listening to classical Indian music. Students may even learn a few words from the Indian language!
Travel Around South America Sign Up - DUE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH
- Join Ms. Kontos and Mrs. Warren on TUESDAYs and THURSDAYs from 3:00-4:00 to explore the various cultures in South America. Students will learn more about the traditions, the typical food, music, and clothes within each culture. Students will also be exposed to introductory Spanish speaking skills!
After School Sports Sign Up - DUE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH
- Join Ms. Almdale on MONDAYs from 3:00-4:00 to learn some new games, strategies, and develop your skills in a variety of different sports and games!
NEW *Lunch Updates*
- Organic Life has informed us that now that lunch procedures are up and running, their Snack Bar is open! Students can purchase a snack from the snack bar after they are done eating their lunch. Money must be preloaded to student lunch accounts in order for snack to be purchased. If you need to load money on your child's account, please do so using Meals Plus.
- If you are interested in purchasing Dessert Day treats for your child to enjoy on Wednesdays and/or Special Lunch for your child on select Fridays, please do so on Membership Toolkit.
NEW *PTO Update*
Our fall Scholastic Book Fair is coming soon! During the week of November 15-19, students will have a chance to purchase a wide variety of books right in the learning center. To make this event run smoothly, we are seeking volunteers to assist us in running the book shop throughout the week. Sign up for a shift on MTK.
- 11/12: Special Lunch (Real Urban BBQ)
- 11/15-19: Scholastic Book Fair
Please take a moment to read the PTO Blog this week.
NEW *Golden Paws*
At Country Meadows we are working to be PROs (People Respecting Others) by being respectful, responsible, and creating peaceful community. Staff members are able to award students with paper paws slips when students are exhibiting behaviors consisent with our building values (respectful, responsible, peaceful).
New this year is the exciting GOLDEN PAW. Golden paws are earned when an entire class is seen exhibiting PRO behavior that is respectful, responsible, or peaceful. For example, a class may earn a Golden Paw for being respectful to a substitute the day a teacher is absent, listening and adhering to lunch room expectations, walking quietly/peacefully in the hallways. Each week we will report to you the classes who have earned Golden Paws!
This weeks Golden Paws winners include:
- Alt - 1st Grade
- Mason - 2nd Grade
- Hanes - 3rd Grade
Keep up the great work, Country Meadows PROs!
REPEATING *Family Reading Night*
This year our annual Family Reading Night will take place on Thursday, 11/18 from 6:30-7:30 pm. Our goal is to provide families with a fun night out where you are able to experience two different rounds of literacy-related activities (i.e. flashlight reading, reading for two voices, Sora eBook app). Families will also have access to our PTO sponsored Book Fair in the learning center to shop as a family! Please use this Google Form to RSVP if you plan on joining us, and indicate your ideal preferences for the evening activities. This information will help us plan for the event and do our best to make a match for your choices. We look forward to seeing you at the event!
REPEATING *New Attendance Information*
Attendance is one of the most powerful predictors of academic achievement and having your student in their seat, ready to learn for the entire school day will benefit them, their classmates, and our whole school community. Let’s work together to make sure your child has great attendance and can get the most out of their learning opportunities this school year.
OUR PROMISE TO YOU
We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time. We promise to track attendance daily, to notice when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why they were absent, and to identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school. Our parent handbook reflects legislative updates from the state and is ready for you to review.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU
We miss your student when they are not at school as we value their contributions to our school community. If your student is going to be absent, please contact the school in advance. If an absence was unplanned, please contact the school please contact the school office as soon as possible.
HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER
- Send your child to school unless they are truly sick, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, contagious rash or showing any other COVID like symptoms.
- Avoid appointments and travel when school is in session.
- Keep track of your child’s attendance.
- Set a regular bedtime and morning routine (including limiting how late your child may use any electronic devices) and finish homework and pack backpacks the night before.
- Have a back-up plan for getting to school in case something comes up (this could be alternative bus routes, roads, or a plan with family members, neighbors, or other parents).
- Communicate with the school about how we can work together to support your child’s attendance.
OUR DUTIES UPON A STUDENT’S ABSENCES
- If your child has five unexcused absences we will reach out via phone and follow up with an email.
- If your child has seven unexcused absences we will schedule a conference with you and your child to create a student success plan and help continued supports.
- After 10 days of unexcused absences, and our supports and interventions haven’t helped get your student to school consistently, we are required to file a petition and you will be notified by formal letter that the case will be forwarded to the truancy department and the Lake County ROE, alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010, Illinois' mandatory attendance law.
WHAT IS EXCUSED AND WHAT IS UNEXCUSED:
Excused: Medical appointment, illness, quarantine, death in the family, mental health day, religious holiday
Unexcused: Most other reasons for absence including vacation, sporting event, missing the bus, sleeping in, day before a special individual occasion.
REPEATING *Volunteers & Vaccination Verification or Proof of a Negative Test
As you may or may not know, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker held a COVID-19 press conference on August 26, 2021, where he issued new rules regarding indoor masking, and signed an Executive Order 2021-20, regarding educational employee vaccination and testing requirements. In the Executive Order which applies to all “school personnel,” volunteers are included in the definition unless they are present for only a short period of time and whose movements of close physical proximity are “fleeting”.
Those who have been identified as a current or upcoming PTO volunteer recently received a survey asking that you provide proof of vaccination and notifying them that if unvaccinated they would need to provide proof of a negative Covid test within 48 hours of reporting to volunteer.
If you have already uploaded proof of vaccination, please disregard this information.
How do I provide proof of vaccination proactively should I choose to volunteer at my student(s) school this year?
By following this link, you may provide proof of vaccination to your school(s).
What if I am unvaccinated but want to volunteer this year?
Unvaccinated volunteers must provide proof of a negative Covid test when you arrive at the school on the day you are scheduled to volunteer. Negative test results are only good for the 48 hours prior to arrival. For example, if an unvaccinated volunteer is scheduled to be in the school the next week, they would have to provide a new test result.
What type of Covid test qualifies?
You may present a negative antigen or PCR test. Home testing kits do not qualify as the test must be observed and documentation of the result provided to you.
Why can’t unvaccinated volunteers take a Covid test at the school?
The BinaxNow test provided to schools is in short supply at this time. As a result, schools have been notified that we cannot use the test for any screening purposes. If we were to do so, they would no longer supply the test to us. We are only allowed to use the test for symptomatic individuals on campus (students or staff) or when a person qualifies for test-to-stay. If and when test supplies increase, those restrictions may be lifted. If they are, we will be in a position to reconsider testing unvaccinated volunteers in our schools at that time.
What is the process for volunteers to either provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test?
- Vaccinated volunteers may submit their proof of vaccination at any time by following the link provided and completing the survey and uploading proof of vaccination.
- The list of those who have done so will be made available to the school (principal, assistant principal, administrative assistant, and nurse) and updated periodically by Lubna Andrabi in our district office.
- Unvaccinated volunteers must bring proof of a negative test to the main office on the day they are scheduled to volunteer.
- The main office will make a copy of your negative test.
- The test result must be within the previous 48 hours. The staff at the front desk in the main office will assist you.
What if I am fully vaccinated but forgot to upload my proof of vaccination?
If you have not uploaded your vaccination card, you may provide proof of vaccination when you arrive (vaccination card). We strongly encourage you to upload your card so that you do not need to present it each time you report to volunteer.
REPEATING *O’Hare PCR Results*
If you do not receive your child’s PCR results over the weekend, we apologize for the inconvenience.
Please feel free to contact O’Hare Labs by sending an email to [email protected] This email is monitored frequently each day and is the preferred method of contact. Please be sure to include your child’s First Name, Last Name, DOB, and test date in the email.
If preferred, you can also call the Call Center at (800) 604-0197 Monday-Saturday between the hours of 10am-5pm.
REPEATING *Covid Metrics*
To stay up-to-date this school year on local metrics, please visit the COVID DASHBOARD for District 96. Our priority remains to keep our students safe and follow guidance from the CDC. If your student is identified as a "close contact", you will be notified individually through the contact tracing process.