News from CCSD15

July 10, 2020

Return to Learn: Roadmap to Reopening Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians:

District 15 is preparing to welcome students and staff back for the 2020-21 school year set to begin on Monday, August 17 for students in grades 1 - 8 and Tuesday, August 18 for early childhood and kindergarten students. We know this year will be a year like no other we have ever experienced both in District 15 and across the country. I thank you in advance for your continued support, patience and understanding as we navigate the upcoming year together.

While many unknowns exist around the future of COVID-19, District 15 remains steadfast in its commitment to safely educate every student every day -- all 12,000 students from early childhood through eighth grade. Additionally, we are committed to providing a safe and supportive working environment for all 2,000 of our employees.

Members of my administrative team and I have spent the summer collaborating with parents, staff, teachers and administrative colleagues about how to mitigate risk and safely return to school. The result of our ongoing research, in-depth conversations, task force committee work, staff and parent focus groups and surveys as well as adherence to guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is outlined in the Return to Learn Reopening Plan.

After many months of intense planning, parents/guardians will have two options to enroll their child(ren) in during the 2020-21 school year. Options for District 15 schools, if we remain in Restore Illinois Phase 4 when school begins, will be:

  1. In-person instruction with significant health and safety modifications

  2. Virtual learning at home (opt-out of in-person instruction)

Big picture

We know that families may have hoped for other alternatives. However, if parents/guardians are uncomfortable with the educational offerings we will be providing, a further option would be to disenroll/withdraw from District 15 schools to pursue other educational opportunities, such as homeschooling or private school. We want you to know we value every family within our District boundaries and hope that everyone returns to school, but share this alternative to ensure all families are aware that such a choice exists for any family in Illinois.

Please review the options available by reading the Return to Learn Roadmap and visiting our website, where you will find frequently asked questions, COVID-19 resources and a calendar of important dates to remember. We ask that parents please make their selections by completing this online form by 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 17. Information in additional languages will be available next week.

We know this is a big decision for families to make, which is why we will offer a Parent Webinar to share Return to Learn updates since Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting and answer any questions you may still have that will help you make an informed decision for your family.
Student Enrollment Selection Form

Please complete this form for each of your children by Friday, July 17.

Parent Webinar

We will be holding a parent webinar via Zoom on Monday, July 13 from 6-8 p.m. to answer parent questions. Parents will have two viewing opportunities:

  1. Join via Zoom Webinar as an attendee. Only those who would like to ask questions or those without access to Facebook should join the webinar using our attendee login (attendee limit is 3,000).

    Attendees will join in view-only mode. During the Q&A portion, attendees can virtually raise their hands. We will then unmute microphones so questions can be asked.

    Webinar Link:
    Password: 4Byu8Z
    Telephone Access: US: +1 312 626 6799
    Webinar ID: 894 6090 1335
    Password: 492123

  2. Watch on the District 15 Facebook page (for viewing only-questions posed on Facebook will not be monitored in realtime and will not be answered live during the webinar).

If you have a question and do not want to participate live, please submit your question using this online form. Questions will be addressed either during the webinar or through email/phone communication.

If you are unable to watch/attend live, the webinar will be recorded and posted to the District 15 Return to Learn website upon its completion.


District 15 transports 10,000 students on 150 school buses every day. To reduce the number of students on our school buses to the greatest extent possible, we need your help. The online survey also asks you to make a choice regarding bus service for the 2020-21 school year. If your child is eligible for free bus service and you are able to drive him or her to and/or from school, please consider opting-out of bus transportation this year. In doing so, you will help us reduce the number of students we must transport each day, which will allow us to provide greater levels of physical distancing on all of our buses.

Additionally, please know that if not enough families opt-out of transportation, we may have to revisit school start times and bus routes. We will not know if this needs to be considered until transportation opt-outs are received and reviewed. Please respond to the opt-out request using your current school start and end times. If revisions are made to start/end times, we will communicate with families again.

In Closing

I want to reassure you that District 15 remains committed to the success of the whole child. We will continue to use responsive teaching practices and ensure that our students learn in a safe and dynamic environment, stay academically and socially-emotionally engaged, and feel supported and challenged as learners regardless of the changes we need to put in place this year based on the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will get through this together. Thank you for your continued support, understanding and collaboration.

Your partner in education,

Laurie Heinz
Superintendent of Schools