June 24, 2020
Dear District 15 Community:
Yesterday afternoon the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year. The 60-page guidance is extensive, covering all aspects of how districts across Illinois may safely reopen schools. Should you be interested in reading the document in its entirety, we have included it here for your reference.
In summary, the state has set five main requirements that all public and nonpublic schools must meet as they create reopening plans in Phase 4:
Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings;
Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
Require social distancing be observed as much as possible;
Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings or buses; and
Require an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.
Having just received the document, we will now be carefully reviewing it and determining how to implement these mandates into a specific reopening plan to meet the needs of all District 15 students and staff.
As you know, District 15 had already begun drafting five preliminary scenarios for reopening schools; this information was shared last week. With ISBE’s new guidelines, we will now be able to adjust these draft scenarios and narrow our focus regarding how best to safely begin the new school year in August. If you have not already done so, please participate in the parent survey, which will help inform our work as much as possible. The survey will remain open through Friday, July 3.
While the planning and preparations to meet the state’s guidelines will be challenging, we are so grateful to have the opportunity to reopen our schools in August. Thank you for your ongoing support through this pandemic. I now ask for your continued patience as we review the ISBE guidance and refine District 15’s formal plan for reopening schools. You have my commitment that our 2020-21 Return-to-Learn plan will place the safety of staff and students at the forefront of our planning efforts. We look forward to sharing our comprehensive plan with you as soon as it is complete.
Your partner in education,
Dr. Laurie Heinz
Superintendent of Schools