Dear District 58 Families,
This year has certainly been filled with highs and lows, ups and downs, twists and turns. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) haven’t always made life easy as the guidance they have provided has continued to shift and evolve. While this can be frustrating, I believe we need to continue to extend grace to our leaders at the State. We are learning more and more about this virus on a daily basis, and it is appropriate for guidance to evolve based on science.
Throughout the pandemic, District 58 has focused on three priorities:
- Follow the safety guidance from ISBE and IDPH
- Increase instructional time to the greatest extent possible
- Minimize educational disruptions to the greatest extent possible
Last Tuesday, March 9, ISBE and IDPH released updated guidance (based on strong scientific evidence) that reaffirmed schools are safe to be open and more students can attend in-person. There is a great deal of flexibility in the new guidance that will allow school districts to redesign current instructional models (i.e. social distancing is now defined at 3 feet-to-6 feet). This updated guidance also places a major emphasis on in-person instruction. I highly encourage everyone to thoroughly review the guidance. Compared to previous guidance documents, these documents are very straightforward and easier to understand.
- Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools
- Frequently Asked Questions on the Revised Public Health Guidance
District 58 was already on a path to bringing all elementary students back to school full time with lunch for five days a week. The updated guidance also now opens the door to our middle school students coming back full time with lunch for five days a week.
After a thorough review of the updated guidance, I am pleased to inform you that District 58 will be able to comply with the recommendations of the health experts. After spring break (4/7/21), District 58 will offer 5 day per week, full-day onsite instruction with lunch for all students whose families indicated in-person as the learning model choice. A full remote option will continue to be offered by the District. Additionally, the instructional model for kindergarten and preschool will remain unchanged. The District has also finalized the start and end times in collaboration with our partner districts (District 99 & District 68). The times for preschool, elementary, and middle school have been staggered to assist families whose children attend different schools.
New Schedule Beginning April 7:
Preschool Schedule: No change to the current schedule
- Blended Sessions: 8:15-9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:15-2:45 p.m.
- Special Programs: 8:15-10:30 a.m., 12:30-2:45 p.m.
Full Day Elementary Schedule:
- A.M. Kindergarten: 8:20-10:50 a.m.
- P.M. Kindergarten: 12-2:30 p.m.
- Grades 1-6: 8:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Full Day Middle School Schedule:
- 8:30 a.m.-2:20 p.m.
- 2:25-3:00 p.m.: Band/Choir/Orchestra
Under the updated guidelines, school as we once knew it will still not be possible to achieve at this time. However, with careful planning, we will be able to get closer to that goal. Unfortunately, there will still be teacher changes even with the new guidance. There is simply no way to fit everyone in each school and run two models (in-person and remote) without having to make changes. However, the new guidance lessens the impact of change. There will be fewer teacher changes, more interventions, and more spaces available. There will be more changes at the elementary level than at the middle school level.
Per my communication last week, building principals will send out detailed information regarding the increase of instructional time to all families no later than Friday (3/19/21). This information will include but not be limited to information on instructional spaces, transportation information, teacher assignments (class lists), and lunch. Given that the guidance is less than a week old, I respectfully request that families wait for the next communication from your building principal instead of contacting the buildings for more information. The administration is working around the clock to finalize all of the details and needs this time to be able to communicate comprehensive information to our families.
This updated guidance is certainly good news and it gets us closer to a sense of normalcy. We look forward to offering a full day of instruction with a robust remote option for our students in grades 1-8. Please note that in order to make this model work, we will need many lunchroom supervisors. We are making good progress toward that goal, but still need additional supervisors. If you are interested in being a lunchroom supervisor, please contact Dr. Jayne Yudzentis (Assistant Superintendent of Personnel) at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the bottom of this message, there is more information regarding the new guidance and the safety measures the District will continue to follow. More information will be sent in the coming days and we will continue to partner with all families to ensure that this next transition is successful.
Dr. Kevin Russell
Superintendent of Schools
The mitigation measures we have in place are working and there is no evidence of transmissions of COVID-19 that have occurred due to attendance at our schools. When students return following Spring Break, IDPH and ISBE recommended mitigation measures will remain in place. These include:
- Social distancing of 3-6 feet will be maintained in all classrooms and indoor spaces.
- (District 58 will strive to provide 6 feet as much as possible. However, there will be spaces that are less than 6 feet. All spaces will be in accordance with the guidance, and families will be informed if their students’ instructional spaces are less than 6 feet of distance between students.)
- Face coverings must be worn indoors at all times (except while eating).
- Six feet of social distancing will remain in place for all times when face coverings are removed (including eating and outdoor mask/movement break).
- Enhanced cleaning procedures of surfaces will continue to be followed.
- Hand-washing/sanitizing will be encouraged throughout the day.
- Quarantine/Isolation protocols will be followed based on ISBE guidelines.
Lunch at School
- Designated spaces will be used for eating (this will include classrooms, gyms, and other areas).
- Students will be seated six feet apart during lunch periods.
- District staff will carefully plan with all families regarding health plans (i.e. food allergies).
Daily Health Self-Certification
- Parents should continue to complete the daily health check of their student(s) to screen for any COVID-like symptoms.
- Students should stay home if any symptom is present.
- Bus capacity will continue to be limited to 50 individuals, including the driver, per the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education guidelines.
- Parents are encouraged to transport their children if possible to reduce the number of bus passengers.
- Social distancing on the bus may not be possible depending on the number of passengers.
- Masks must be worn at all times on the school bus.
- No food or drink may be consumed on the school bus.
- Bus routes will remain the same and new times will be sent out by the building principal.
If a student is identified as a close contact to a positive case, he/she will need to quarantine for the required 14 days. Please refer to the Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools for quarantine/isolation procedures.