District 96 Community,
To safeguard the health and wellness of all students and staff, and after consultation with Area 125 superintendents and considering the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding limiting the gathering of large groups, we have decided to close District 96 schools to students beginning Monday, March 16th, in an abundance of caution and as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) illness in our community.
Parent Educator Conferences scheduled for today (Mar. 12) and tomorrow (Mar. 13) have been canceled.
IMPORTANT: Any students who believe they need materials they must have in order to complete academic tasks (i.e., graphing calculators) may retrieve these items on Mon., Mar. 16, between 1 and 3 p.m.
Last fall, District 96 did have a remote learning plan approved. Last school year, we implemented the plan for an extreme weather day. We have been working diligently to update that plan to account for a potentially more extended closing. Early next week you will be receiving remote learning plans. These will be sent to your parent email addresses on file.
The dates identified below outline how days will be categorized. Spring Break days do not require a plan, as they were already built into our calendar as non-attendance days. In addition, Tuesday, March 17th, was already identified as a Teacher Institute day (non-attendance). We also have five Emergency Days built in to our calendar and those will be used first. These days are now built into our calendar and mean that the last day of student attendance will now likely be Friday, June 5.
Emergency Days that are already built into our calendar, extending the school year until Friday, June 5th:
- Monday, March 16
- Wednesday, March 18
- Thursday, March 19
- Friday, March 20
- Monday, March 30
Identified non-attendance day (Institute / Election Day), no make-up
- Tuesday, March 17
Spring Break non-attendance days, no make-up
- Monday, March 23
- Tuesday, March 24
- Wednesday, March 25
- Thursday, March 26
- Friday, March 27
Remote Learning Days
- Tuesday, March 31
- Wednesday, April 1
- Thursday, April 2
- Friday, April 3
Anticipated re-open if conditions allow
- Monday, April 6
The identified start date for remote learning is Tuesday, March 31. As you will be receiving remote plans early next week, students can certainly begin their remote learning plan. You or your student (depending on grade level) will receive a communication from the teacher(s) once per day on the four identified remote learning days. Work from remote learning will be due 5 days after school resumes in order for students to get additional teacher support if needed.
While we know this is an unprecedented decision, these are unprecedented times. We are committed to following CDC recommendations and to do our part in taking preventative measures to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. While we have not been notified of any staff or students being diagnosed with COVID-19 at this time, we believe the evidence that makes it increasingly clear that it is better for schools to close sooner rather than later to slow the spread of the disease. Although it seems that the coronavirus has primarily impacted people 60 and older, the reality is that even if our students are less likely to be adversely affected, they still could be carriers of the disease. Closing the school reduces the incubation effect that occurs when hundreds of students and adults gather in the school on a daily basis.
The decision to close school is not one we are making lightly. We are fully aware of the complications that this will cause in the lives of our students and their families — and for our faculty and staff, as well. Whatever the downsides of closing school may be, we believe that as a public school we have a shared responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and the larger District 96 community.
If conditions change as we approach April 6, official communication emails will be sent from the District level through our normal communication avenues.
Julie A. Schmidt, Superintendent of District 96 Schools
Safety Reminders and Resources
The link below from the National Association of School Psychologists will take you to powerful resources to support you in having conversations with your students about this pandemic.
As a reminder, the best ways to prevent the spread of illnesses both at school and at home are to practice good hand hygiene, monitor symptoms, and keep children at home if they are feeling ill. Everyone–and especially children–should regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to help prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19. Please take a moment to view the short videos highlighting the proper way to wash hands posted on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/videos.html
For those families preparing to travel over spring break, please be aware of the specific guidance from the CDC concerning anyone traveling to or from an area of the world determined to be a Level 3 Travel Health Notice location. These regulations may be found on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html
If you return home from a designated Level 3 Travel Health Notice location, the CDC advises that you and your children stay home for 14 days from the time you left the area. The CDC also recommends that you practice social distancing and take these steps to monitor your family’s health:
- Take your child’s temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not send your child to school for this 14-day period. Contact your child’s school before returning to school upon their reopening.
- Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).