Oct 21, 2020
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School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.
October 14, 2020
Dear CCSD21 Parents and Guardians,
It has truly been a pleasure to begin to welcome students whose families have chosen in-person learning back into our classrooms and I want to thank each of you for your understanding and cooperation as we enter the next phase of our very different school year.
Over the past several days, we have started to see some worrisome increases in the number of cases per 100,000 in the CCSD21 and surrounding area zip codes we monitor on a daily basis. This increase is in line with rising rates of COVID-19 cases across the State of Illinois. Given that, I wanted to provide some additional information and background about how the district will be making decisions on if or when to return to a full distance learning model.
During the September Board of Education meeting, the district’s Revised Return to In-Person Schooling Plan was approved. The plan outlines metrics for both in-person learning as well as conditions in which we may transition back to distance learning. The district reviews multiple data sources on a daily basis and uses all of them to support our decision making. Sources include data from the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health, as well as the COVID-19 Dashboard maintained by the Northwestern Medicine’s Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center. In addition we are tracking our internal data as demonstrated by our COVID-19 Data Dashboard linked here.
Currently the case counts for the Northern Region of Cook County provided by the Cook County Department of Public Health do not reflect the same spike we are seeing in some of the other reporting. It will take some time to establish a better understanding of the variations in the data and to see if they establish a trend. We are also seeing very strong internal data which does not indicate a large number of student or staff exclusions due to close contact exposure or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
All of these factors will be taken into consideration as we make decisions about moving from one phase to another as described in our Revised Return to In-Person Schooling Plan.
Scenarios in which we would make an immediate decision to return to a full distance learning program include individual schools crossing our 3% confirmed active COVID cases threshold or if an order to return to remote learning was issued by the Governor, Illinois State Board of Education, or state or county public health officials. Currently no CCSD21 school is close to the 3% active COVID case threshold outlined in our Revised Return to In-Person Schooling Plan.
Any other decision to return to distance learning for all will be made with a solid understanding of trending data including current rates of exclusion or confirmed cases within our schools and with as much advance notice given to parents as possible. We will actively communicate with parents and guardians via regular school and district level communication systems like ParentSquare, as well as via social media and the district website as soon as necessary.
We are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. It is extremely important that as a community we take all steps necessary to avoid exposure and spread of this virus so that we may keep our schools open and in-person learning going.
Please wear your masks and help your child to wear theirs, enforce social distancing, avoid attending or allowing your child to attend social gatherings or other events where adequate precautions may not be followed, practice good hand washing consistently, and stay home when you are not feeling well.
Please visit our CCSD21 Parent/Family Resources page for additional information regarding COVID-19 and our health and safety expectations.
Again, we thank you for your continued support and vigilance as we work together for a successful school year.
Dr. Michael Connolly