Welcome and COVID-19 Update
- School News
Dear District 73 Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to a new school year! We are eager to greet students on Monday, August 23 for our first day of school. This letter is to share updated guidelines related to health and safety measures for the start of the year.
The health and safety of our students, staff, and families remains our number one priority. The district is continuing to monitor guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools. Our current plan reflects the most recent guidance:
July 27, 2021 – CDC updated its guidance for universal masking in K-12 schools.
August 2, 2021 – IDPH and ISBE released an FAQ that clarifies the CDC guidance.
August 4, 2021 – Governor Pritzker issued a universal masking mandate for all PreK-12 Illinois schools.
Based on this updated guidance, our plan is to fully reopen schools for in-person learning using layered mitigation measures.
Full Reopening for In-Person Learning
Parents/Guardians are not required to complete daily self-certification of their child’s COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, by sending your child to school each day you are certifying that your child is not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.
Resume locker and storage assignments.
Remove restrictions on shared materials.
Resume all clubs, activities and sports with mitigation measures.
Resume classroom volunteer opportunities and PTO-sponsored activities.
Classrooms reflect in-person instruction with 3-6 feet of social distancing.
During lunch, students and staff are socially distanced at 6 feet.
While outdoors, social distancing generally is not required.
Contact Tracing and Quarantine
District staff will work with state and local health departments to identify students and staff that must isolate because of positive COVID-19 test results, and those that must quarantine as close contacts.
Updated guidance removes students from the list of close contacts within a classroom setting when they and the infected student consistently and correctly wear well-fitting masks and other preventative measures (including social distancing at a minimum of 3 feet) are in place.
Staff are prepared to temporarily transition to concurrent learning should a member of their classroom community be unable to attend school in-person because they are positive for COVID-19 or are required to quarantine as a close contact. In these cases, students will access learning via Zoom and a digital platform so they can maintain their same teacher(s) and services.
When identified as a classroom close contact, students can utilize the “Test to Stay” option to minimize in-person learning disruptions. This is only allowable in situations when both the Close Contact and COVID-19 confirmed student were masked. Please note, that this does not include household exposure- school only. This allows students to avoid quarantine by testing on days one, three, five and seven after exposure as long as they continue to test negative and are symptom free.
All District 73 students, staff and visitors are required to wear a mask in school buildings regardless of vaccination status. This mitigation measure aligns with health and safety recommendations in the updated CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidance.
Masks for all individuals (age 3 and older) are required on school buses, regardless of vaccination status, as school buses and other school transport qualify as public transport.
During outdoor activities, masking is optional (regardless of vaccination status).
We also will continue to implement improved ventilation, as well as increased handwashing and sanitation. These strategies are aligned with the updated guidance, and were determined to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Additional back to school information will be shared by building administrators on Friday, August 6.
In the event that ISBE and/or IDPH guidance changes, we will adjust our plans and communicate the changes to our community. As the school year continues, we will work with state and local health departments to determine when we may phase out some, if not all, of the mitigation measures in place at the start of this year.
Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in working alongside us. We are in this together!
Peter Hannigan, Ed.D.