News from CCSD15

October 9, 2020

ILLINOIS ART TEACHER OF THE YEAR: JOANNA ANGELOPOULOS OF GRAY M. SANBORN SCHOOL!

A Message From Superintendent Laurie Heinz

Dear Parents and Guardians,


We are nearing the completion of our rolling reentry process, and are delighted to see so many of our students back in person again! I am so proud of our students, staff and parents for working together to allow for both virtual and in-person learning to occur this year. It truly has been a team effort and one that is paying off for our students. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Rolling Reentry Continues

On Tuesday, October 13 we will welcome back our in-person learners in grades 5-8! As shared with junior high families early last week, in-person students in grades 7 and 8 will return in a hybrid model, attending school in person on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. Fridays will remain a virtual day for all students. Virtual learners will attend classes concurrently with their in-person peers through Zoom/Google Meet. As can be the case, misinformation is floating that work on Fridays will be only asynchronous -- this is not the case. It will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous work as it was during full remote learning this year.


As I shared with parents in grades 5 and 6 this week, any new requests for virtual learning in grades 5 and 6 will be handled in a similar concurrent learning model. Instead of being re-sectioned into a virtual classroom, students wanting to switch from in-person to virtual at the 5th and 6th grade level will join their current classmates and teacher concurrently or simultaneously through Zoom or Google Meet.


Again, this decision was made because the amount of change requests we have received for virtual placement is unsustainable in our current model. Teacher professional development took place today and staff will be ready for this new delivery model beginning on Tuesday. Please allow time for everyone to grow accustomed to this instructional approach while we welcome grades 5-8 back to school next week.

COVID-19 Metrics

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community and within our schools each week. A return to virtual instruction could occur at the classroom, building or District level, depending on each unique situation. We will give parents as much notice as possible if we need to close a classroom, school or the whole District, but sometimes situations that would prompt a closure occur with little notice. Please have your contingency plans in place should your child need to stay home from school for a prolonged period of time.

Self-Certification and Exclusion from School

I want to emphasize that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines are very strict when it comes to self-certification. If a student or staff member (or anyone within that person’s home) is exhibiting even one symptom of COVID-19, he or she must stay home until a negative COVID-19 test result or physician’s note with an alternative diagnosis is obtained. If diagnostic testing or further evaluation is not sought, symptomatic individuals must stay home for 10 days past symptom onset.


Additionally, if a household member or someone your child is in close contact with is diagnosed with COVID-19, your child must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days, even if he or she tests negative for the virus during that time period. Quarantine for household members of a COVID-19 positive person may be more than 14 days, depending on the ability to safely distance from one another in the home.


Again, these guidelines are not unique to District 15, they are mandates from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).


A state-run COVID-19 testing location is available at the Arlington Park Race Track. Testing at this location is free and anyone can be tested, regardless of symptoms or exposure. No ID or proof of insurance is required to be tested. Learn more by visiting the IDPH website.

Positive Case Notifications

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, direct notification will be provided to all close contacts (within 6-feet for 15 cumulative minutes) as well as the entire classroom and/or school bus. The positive case is also noted on our public dashboard, which is updated Monday-Friday. If your child has not been identified as a close contact, there is no action needed to quarantine or isolate. Written communication will ensure you know if action needs to be taken.


If we experience an “outbreak” of COVID-19 which is defined by the IDPH as two or more cases linked by time and place, the Cook County Health Department could decide to close a classroom as a precautionary measure. Again, these situations can arise with little notice, so please have contingency plans in place for childcare should we need to shut down a classroom.

Moving Forward

Now that we are completing our rolling reentry process and all in-person learners will be back in our schools, our focus will shift to determining what enrollment change requests will look like at the semester and trimester. Additionally, we will be looking at introducing virtual clubs district-wide to provide another layer of engagement and learning for our students.


We will continue to communicate with you through the fall and winter to keep you informed on the status of in-person learning in our schools, and also to share other news and celebrations! Thank you for being our partners in ensuring all of our students receive a top notch education each and every day.


Enjoy the long weekend and this beautiful weather.


Warmly,


Dr. Laurie Heinz

Superintendent of Schools