Dear District 58 Staff and Families,
As previously shared, District 58 considers a variety of factors when deciding whether schools can maintain hybrid learning, including county and local transmission levels; case and outbreak activity in our schools; and absenteeism among students and staff. We review data daily, and meet weekly with the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD). District 58 pays close attention to whether COVID-19 is spreading at our schools and if there is a substantial disruption to the educational process.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, District 58 must make a temporary shift to remote instruction for most students*. The District will resume onsite instruction on Monday, Nov. 30. This shift is taking place because of the high number of absences for students and staff due to the pandemic. District 58 is proud of how our staff and students have been able to closely follow the safety protocols; there have been no confirmed cases that have originated in or spread through our schools. However, the number of student and staff COVID-related absences has caused a substantial disruption to the educational process. The reason for this is that public school districts must follow strict isolation and quarantine requirements that can take up to two weeks for impacted individuals.
District 58 is hopeful that this temporary shift will allow the necessary time to respond to the impact of student and staff absences so that we can resume hybrid learning on Nov. 30. Fortunately, the current instructional model is designed to shift to a remote delivery with minimal impact. Students will continue to follow their current schedules and maintain their current teacher assignments. Further information on remote learning will be sent out later this week by building principals.
COVID-19 is rapidly spreading throughout our community, DuPage County, the State of Illinois, and the nation. This rapid spread has a direct impact on our schools. District 58 is committed to providing onsite instruction in a safe manner that adheres to the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). In order to provide such a model, everyone must do their part by taking this virus extremely seriously. We cannot provide onsite instruction if our absences do not return to manageable levels. This is truly a community effort and we need your help. Please avoid gatherings, stay home as much as possible, and be safe.
Continue to practice the 3Ws:
- Wear a mask
- Watch your distance (maintain 6 feet of social distancing)
- Wash your hands frequently
Dr. Kevin B. Russell
Superintendent of Schools
* During this time, special education services within specialized programs as well as through a resource model will continue to be implemented onsite for those who wish to access services in this manner. Additionally, Grove Children’s Preschool will continue to operate their standard program as previously communicated with no projected change at this time.
Over the past two weeks, District 58 has experienced a sharp increase in the number of positive cases for staff and families. Additionally, there are many staff and students currently out due to isolation and/or quarantine requirements. This information can be found in greater detail on the District’s COVID-19 Dashboard.
Since Nov. 1, the District has reported 20 positive student cases and eight positive staff cases. There are currently 39 staff members who are absent because they have either tested positive, are demonstrating symptoms and awaiting test results, or are close contacts to a positive case. These absences are in addition to the absences we would experience during a typical year. As an example, on Monday, Nov. 9, there are 95 total employee absences and 17 unfilled substitute positions. At the same time, there are currently 204 student absences, marking our eighth consecutive school day with over 200 students absent.
At this time, there are not enough substitutes who are responding to available positions to cover classrooms on a daily basis. This causes other staff members - administrators, reading specialists/interventionists, etc. - to assume substitute duties. This means that other critical student and staff support does not take place on these days. During this shift to remote learning, the District will continue the active outreach to current and prospective substitute teachers to secure additional specific substitute teachers for subsequent weeks.
Over the past two weeks we have been working to shift students who are in mandatory quarantine to temporary remote classrooms. The current number of student absences makes it incredibly challenging to accommodate the number of shifts necessary on a daily and weekly basis, which causes a significant disruption to student learning.
In making this temporary shift to full remote instruction, most quarantined/isolated teachers can continue remote instruction from home, and most quarantined/isolated students can continue participating in instruction from home. This allows for greater instructional continuity.
During this time, special education services within specialized programs as well as through a resource model will continue to be implemented onsite for those who wish to access services in this manner. While the District will do its best to accommodate a need for transportation, routes can take up to five days to establish so if maintaining onsite services requires a change in transportation for your family, it may be best to simply implement remote delivery. Please contact your child’s case manager or principal/coordinator directly to discuss your family’s unique circumstances.
Additionally, the Grove Children’s Preschool will continue to operate their standard program as previously communicated with no projected change at this time.
With any change in the instructional model, our goal will continue to be to provide staff and families with approximately one week’s notice, unless circumstances require us to close schools more quickly. Should the return date of Nov. 30 need to be adjusted, we would intend to communicate this no later than Nov. 23.