Coronavirus Update 3/13, Distance Learning Week of March 16

March 13, 2020

Topic: Updates

The following email was sent to CCSD21 parents on March 13, 2020. Please contact your school office if you are not receiving emails from School District 21.

Dear CCSD21 families, 

As you know, we have been closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic. This is an evolving situation with new information coming from local and state authorities throughout the day. 

The most recent guidance from the CDC, Illinois and Cook County Departments of Public Health, and Illinois Governor’s Office is to limit group gatherings as much as possible. Any gathering of 1,000 or more individuals is required to be cancelled through May 1. The Governor has asked that any gathering of 250 or more people be canceled or postponed.

While not the same as a social gathering, concert, or professional athletic event, the daily life of a school has multiple aspects that would fit this criteria. Dozens of colleges and universities in Illinois and many more outside of Illinois are closing campuses, extending Spring Breaks and moving classroom work to a distance learning model. On Thursday, several states across the nation made the decision to close schools as a precaution. The State of Illinois has not made the decision to mandate a school closure at this time, allowing local districts to evaluate and make their own decisions instead. The State has, however, made clear that this is a very serious public health crisis and that all residents of Illinois should be taking care to socially distance, limit larger group interaction, and work from home when possible. Various state and county facilities are being closed to the general public, except for the conduct of critical business. 

Additionally, I have been in close consultation with the superintendents of Township HS District 214 and its sender school districts.  In the interest of the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families, CCSD21 schools will not be in session starting Monday, March 16th. We will be implementing distance (E-learning) days on Monday, March 16, and then again on Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, March 20. Spring Break will continue as planned from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. Tuesday, March 17th was a previously scheduled non-student attendance day and Faculty and Staff Institute. Our staff will be engaging in training and planning utilizing online platforms. 

While we hope to be able to resume normal school attendance on Monday, March 30, 2020, a longer period of distance (E-learning) days may be necessary. We will be closely monitoring the public health situation and will make a determination of our status for the school week starting March 30th as soon as we are able to. 

More details on distance E-Learning day requirements, food service availability, and more are below. 

Please understand that at this moment, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the CCSD21 community. The direction to practice “social distancing”, though, helps to draw out the time that it takes for this virus to spread and, therefore, protect the capacity healthcare providers — to ensure they have sufficient capacity to treat those ill with COVID-19 and other illnesses — and those in more vulnerable populations. Please consider how you might limit your interactions in large group settings in the coming weeks. 

Distance Learning

CCSD21 is implementing a Distance Learning program for students to engage with their teachers while at home for Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20. Spring Break will remain as scheduled for Monday, March 23, to Friday, March 27. There will be no Distance Learning obligations for students and teachers during Spring Break. 

The Institute Day previously scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, will remain an Institute Day. There will be no Distance Learning obligations for students on Tuesday, March 17. 

As a one to one technology district, students Kindergarten through 8th will be able to participate in distance learning activities via their Chromebook. Teacher assigned learning activities for the day will be electronically delivered to you and your child by 9 AM each day.  Teachers will connect with students for learning activities utilizing 21st century technology tools including Google Classroom, Screencastify, Seesaw, Class Dojo, and Gmail.

CCSD21 students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade will be issued a Chromebook to bring home today, Friday, March 13, so they are able to join their older peers in accessing learning activities from home. Additional parent guidance will be provided to assist you in supporting our youngest learners in the use of their devices at home. 

Parents of pre-kindergarten students will access learning activities via the COR Advantage App, as well as paper packets of suggested age appropriate learning activities. 

Teachers will support students today to ensure that all needed learning materials are brought home. There will be limited access to CCSD21 facilities, however if you find that your child has forgotten a critical learning material at school, please contact your child’s principal via email to explore options for retrieving that item. 

Special Education and English Language Learning supports will continue during each distance learning day. If you have specific questions related to this, please contact your child’s principal via email. 

Specific instructions and additional details designed to support parents and students successfully accessing and completing assigned distance learning activities will be posted on the CCSD21 website, shared through district social media, and sent to all parents via SchooMessenger by Sunday evening, March 15th. 

Home Internet Access

Comcast and AT&T offer low-cost high speed Internet access to families who receive free or reduced-price lunch. Comcast announced yesterday that due to the recent challenges with COVID-19, they are offering two months free with their program mentioned above. Local libraries may offer mobile hotspots for check out. Please contact your local library directly to determine their availability.

CCSD21’s WiFi network coverage has been expanded and will  extend into CCSD21 properties’ parking lots. While schools will be closed, students’ devices will connect to the Internet from the parking lot where a student can access the day’s learning activities and then return home to complete the activity offline. 

Please contact your school principal if you believe your child will have difficulty connecting to the Internet.

Continuation of Food Service

Though all CCSD21 schools will be closed, daily breakfast and lunch will be available to all CCSD21 students. In order to accommodate multiple service locations, cold breakfast and sack lunch meals will be served simultaneously; students will leave their distribution site with two meals. Food service will be provided the week of March 16. Food service will NOT be available during our planned Spring Break, the week of March 23.

Distribution locations and schedules will be shared this weekend. 

Family Health

If a member of your family is not feeling well, please consider calling your medical provider before going to the medical office, clinic, or hospital. If you or a member of your family are experiencing symptoms that are similar to those seen in those infected by COVID-19, please contact your health care provider or ACCESS at Northwest Community Hospital (847-342-1554) for a telephone screening of symptoms.

The decision to close school for any reason is not one we make lightly. We understand the hardship that this period of closure will cause in the lives of our students and their families. We are taking this step to support the safety and well-being of the entire CCSD21 community.

We will continue to share information and updates in the days and weeks ahead.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together.


Dr. Michael Connolly