Principal's Message 10.8.21

Principal's Message 10.8.21

Dear Families,

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend conferences yesterday and today. Families took advantage of both in-person and virtual meeting opportunities to discuss their student’s progress thus far this year. On behalf of Prairie faculty and staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Prairie PTO and families for their very generous support in the way of food and beverage donations for our conference dinner and snacks.  Your generosity is much appreciated!


Christine Pfaff

NEW *PTO Monster Bash*

Mark your calendar for one of the most exciting PTO events of the school year.  The Monster Bash will be held on Friday, October 22nd from 6:00pm - 7:30pm.  The event will be held in the Prairie parking lot.  There will be a fall photo backdrop, Trunk-or-Treat, and many other fun activities.  

We welcome families to decorate their trunks, mini-vans, or pick-up truck beds with elementary school-level friendly decor.  Please contact Karen Abrams at [email protected] if you would like to enter your vehicle for Trunk-or-Treat.  The PTO will provide candy or trinkets for you to pass out to the children.  You only have to do the decorations.  

The entry fee for the event is $5.00 for one child and $10 for two or more children.  Dessert options will be an extra charge and more information is forthcoming.

NEW *Halloween Costumes* 

Our Halloween festivities will be here before we know it.  We look forward to students dressing in their Halloween costumes for our Halloween Parade and classroom parties on Friday, Oct. 29th.  Please help us with the following costume guidelines.  Students will change into their costumes after the lunch period. Costumes must be appropriate for school.

  • Please no masks, blood, super scary stuff, general iciness, or weapons
  • Please no cigars or cigarette items
  • Please no bare tummies
  • Please keep hair coloring and make-up simple

If you plan to pick your child up so that they can put their costume on at home, please fill out THIS FORM

NEW *Halloween Parties*

Parties will begin at approximately 2:00 pm and end at 2:45 pm. Only PTO-approved parent party volunteers may attend classroom parties. Please see more party volunteer information below.


Parents attending the parties may not bring additional family members, other children, etc.  

Every PTO volunteer approved to come into our school MUST have their license or ID scanned through our security system to enter.  You have to bring this with you or you will not be able to enter. There is always a very long line at this first party, so please anticipate this.  We highly encourage PTO room party volunteers to swing by school sometime in October before the party to have their license scanned, which will speed up the process.  The more people who come in early to be scanned, the shorter the line.  

All volunteers must follow our procedures for verifying vaccination or have proof of a negative Covid test.  See "REPEAT *Volunteers & Vaccination Verification or Proof of a Negative Test*" below for requirement details.  Call the office with questions.  All volunteers must wear a mask at all times and remain socially distanced.

NEW *Halloween Parade*

Our Halloween Parade will be on Friday, Oct. 29th.  The parade will begin at 1:15 pm.  Students will exit the art/music doors on Kingsbridge Way and walk the sidewalk to the blacktop area where they will re-enter the building.  Families are encouraged to come out and line the sidewalk for enthusiastic cheering, waving, and picture taking.  We hope to see you there.

NEW *Calling 4th & 5th Grade Leaders*

Are you interested in an awesome leadership opportunity? If you are, the Positively Prairie Leadership Council (PPLC) is for you! Come join us for an informational meeting Thursday, October 28th from 3:00-3:45 in Ms. Heuer’s classroom (red pod room 6). All 4th & 5th graders are welcome to attend the meeting! 

If you are attending the meeting, parent pick-up will be at the Kingsbridge Circle where the bus drop-off is.  Pick-up is at 3:45pm.

We look forward to seeing you!

Dr. Yutakis, Mrs. Muehling, Mrs. Himes, and Ms. Heuer

NEW *Toys at School*

We have observed that students are bringing toys to school.  These items become a distraction from learning.  If toys are coming to be used at Clubhouse or for another reason, they will remain in the student’s backpack.  There are some exceptions such as teachers using toys as a reward from time to time and, of course, bringing a toy to school on a special occasion is acceptable.  Teachers will communicate when there is a special event in class.  Please review the expectation around bringing toys to school with your child.  We appreciate your help in supporting school expectations.  

NEW *Long Grove Fire Protection District Resources*

As promised, the Long Grove Fire Protection District has shared its first fire safety video with us, this one on Smoke Detectors.  Please check out this video in your Virtual BackPack.

NEW *Superintendent Survey Closes Today*

One final reminder: Today ~ Friday, Oct. 8 ~ is the FINAL day to complete the Superintendent Search Survey.  Click here for the link.

REPEAT *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 they arrive at the school on the day they 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 is 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. 

REPEAT *Cold Weather & Recess*

It’s hard to believe but it started to get a bit chilly this week! This is a friendly reminder to dress your children to go outside.  We go outside nearly every day.  We have indoor recess only in extreme cases (0-10 degrees; wind chill is considered).  Once we get enough snow to play in, children must be dressed properly to go into the snow.  This includes a coat, hat, snow pants, boots, and mittens/gloves.  If they have not dressed in the required snow garments, there is a large, plowed blacktop playspace for kids to play on.  My best parent advice...LABEL EVERYTHING with your child's name.  Our Lost & Found explodes with items in the winter, and if your child's name is on something, those items make their way back to your child much easier.

REPEAT *Thought Exchange Partnership*

The District 96 Thought Exchange Partnership (TEP) offers parents opportunities to give feedback and receive information about District instruction, programs, and initiatives. Understanding parent perceptions is helpful for planning and communicating. Contact District 96 Community Parent Liaison Lubna Andrabi, 847.459.4260, ext. 8136, with questions. In particular, the District invites parents who have students enrolled at Willow Grove Early Learning Center to consider joining the Thought Exchange Partnership. The first meeting is scheduled for October 21, 2021, from 7:00-8:30 via Zoom. 

Questions - Lubna Kahn-Andrabi: [email protected]

REPEAT *Contact Tracing Clarification*

Contact tracing is completed when a confirmed COVID-19 case is reported.  If a student is identified as close contact, families will be notified.  Contact tracing in District 96 is based on the current IDPH definitions of close contact which are included at the bottom of the D96 Quarantine Decision Making Matrix that has previously been shared with families.  

In classrooms, hallways, etc., close contacts are defined as being closer than 3 feet with inconsistent masking of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.

In the lunchroom, close contacts are defined as being closer than 6 feet with inconsistent masking of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period.

In general, individuals who are solely exposed to a confirmed case while outdoors will not be considered close contacts.

As part of the contact tracing protocol, we check with the classroom teachers, specials teachers, and related services staff to ensure that no student was unmasked, for more than 15 minutes cumulatively, within a given setting.  If this is the case, additional close contacts would be identified and notified (i.e. snack, water, etc.).   Please note that this may mean a student who sits 3 feet away from a confirmed positive case in the classroom setting (consistently masked) IS NOT identified as a close contact, while a child who sits within 6 feet of a confirmed positive case at a lunch table (inconsistently masked) IS identified as a close contact.

District 96 does not define what a close contact is, rather follows the IDPH definition.  Likewise, District 96 does not alter contact tracing or notification protocols, rather strictly follows those provided by the IDPH.

REPEAT *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. 

REPEAT *Food Service*

FREE MEALS IN SCHOOL:  Under the waivers to USDA Nutrition Programs currently offered, the District is able to provide free meals to all students.  One reimbursable daily meal will be provided free of charge to each student that chooses to participate on school days.  

SNACKS FOR PURCHASE IN SEPTEMBER: Snacks will start being offered at the beginning of September.  If you wish your child to be able to purchase snacks at that time, please be sure to have their account prepaid on the K12PaymentCenter.  This site will allow you not only to monitor balances but also transaction history.  There are no transaction fees related to this account.  To create an account you will need your student's 7 digit ID number, which will be emailed to you this evening with the subject line of D96 Food Service Information.

ORDERING PROCESS:  Each morning, students will tell their teachers which entree they will order and those numbers will be shared with the food service staff.  Please encourage your students to take the entree they ordered to ensure that all students receive the desired meal.  Menus can be viewed on the District website.

REPEAT*Daily Snack*

All students should bring an individual daily snack. It is required that snacks are only from our District Approved Snack List for the safety of students. Please label snacks with your child’s name.

Approved Snacks: What Parents Need to Know

The District has revised the APPROVED SNACK LIST. The items the list includes are free of the Top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.  This list includes the foods that are approved for students' Daily Snacks.  Daily snacks for your children must be from this list or they will be sent home.  

IMPORTANT: All items for Daily Snacks, with the exception of fruits and vegetables, MUST be prepackaged to allow staff to easily check that snacks meet the approved requirements.  

Director of Educational Services Amy Gluck also has provided responses to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) about foods approved for daily snacks/special events.

For your convenience, find links to the District 96 Approved Snack List and Approved Snack List FAQs on the homepage of the District 96 website and the homepage of each school.

Lunches packed from home may contain anything and do not need to be from the Approved Snack List.  If your child is bringing in lunch, snacks must be packed separately from lunch. Please label lunch bags and snacks with your child’s name.