Nov 23, 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 21, 2020
Dear CCSD21 families,
On October 14th, I provided families with an update on the continued rate of increase of COVID-19 infection in our area. I wanted to provide an update today and share some additional thoughts on where I believe we may be heading as a district.
On a daily basis, we monitor the case count per 100,000 individuals in the zip codes serving and surrounding CCSD21. The case count in both the rolling 14 and 7 day periods have largely remained higher than the 98 cases per 100,000 cited in the Revised Return to In-Person School Plan as a point for implementing our hybrid in-person schedule. I want to reiterate that while that metric is an important one in making a determination as to whether to continue with our in-person hybrid schedule or return to fully remote learning, it is not the only metric we review. In addition to other external points of data such as testing positivity rate, we also very closely review data from within our own schools. We have launched our own publicly viewable COVID-19 Data Dashboard and update it on a daily basis.
While our internal data remains relatively consistent and satisfactory, we are starting to see an increase in the number of students and staff who are unable to attend in-person because they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have come into close contact with a COVID-positive individual. The number of confirmed COVID cases amongst students and staff in each school remains well below the 3% threshold that would immediately move that school back into remote learning for all.
I remain deeply concerned about the increasing rates of community spread of COVID-19 in our immediate area, county, and throughout the State of Illinois. Additionally, testing positivity rates in Suburban Cook County grew to 7.8% as of today’s reporting, up from 5.5% on October 9th. Areas within the state that experience a testing positivity rate of over 8% are subject to additional restrictions under the state’s Restore Illinois Plan.
The district has not yet made the decision to return to fully remote learning at this time, but I want all parents to be aware that we are moving closer to a point where areas within our district or the district in its entirety may need to pause our in-person learning until COVID-19 infection rates stabilize.
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 a recommendation or order to return to remote learning was issued by the Governor, Illinois State Board of Education, or state or county public health officials.
Any decision to return to distance learning for either specific schools within the district or for the district in its entirety will be made with as much advance notice as possible. Due to the fluid and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 virus, however, ample advance notice may not always be possible. Please continue to consider your family’s contingency plan should a closure occur at the classroom, school, or District level. We will actively communicate with families 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 continue to be in a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. It is extremely important that as a community we stay vigilant and 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 continue to 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 or your children 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.
Dr. Michael Connolly