Avoca West News

Week of October 26, 2021

Calendar Reminders!!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday are half days for students as our teachers get ready to virtually welcome our parents in for fall conferences. Students will not eat lunch at school either day. Dismissal will take place at 11:45 both days. Please be sure your student knows how he/she will be getting home.

Friday is a non-attendance day for our students as our teachers learn together in a teacher institute day.

Health and Wellness Updates

Our administrative team and nurses are doing their best to stay on top of the ever-changing updates from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The health department recently updated their guidance (October 18th) around excluding staff and students and which tests are allowable for students to return to school. Here's a quick, but NOT thorough, recap:

  • Anyone who is symptomatic must receive a test to return to school. Home tests are not permitted, but rapid tests are permitted at this time.
  • Alternative diagnosis (notes from the doctor attributing the symptoms to something non-COVID) are no longer allowed. The only thing that is allowed is a note from the doctor detailing that symptoms are due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Siblings do not have to go/stay home -- AS LONG AS the symptomatic student is tested within 24 hours.

Please know that this is ALL subject to change at any time. We know that the changes can be frustrating (we feel it too!) and hope you know that we are doing our best to add this to an already very busy plate for us at school. I appreciate our families who have notified us with changes they've found, as we aren't always notified first. It takes a village, oodles of cooperation, collaboration, and patience by all to navigate in our new environment.

Thank you for helping to keep our students safe, healthy, and for the kindness in the flexibility you show to all!

Below is a copy of the most recent COVID-19 Decision Tree for Excluding Symptomatic Individuals. We use it as our source for making decisions and encourage families to read through and to ask questions if things come up. In case you'd like to print out a copy for your home, you can find the direct link HERE.

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Costumes & Halloween at Avoca West

This year Halloween falls on a Sunday. Prior to that Sunday, there is no school for students on Friday, October 29 and only half days on October 27 and October 28. Because of these facts of the calendar and in order to better support our students' learning, we will not have students wear costumes to school this year.

We understand that this will disappoint some of our students and families and that some see this ritual as a way to “return to normal.” This year, the best thing we can do for our students is to support a learning environment that provides continuity and calm, one in which students and staff can focus on those aspects of school that are most conducive to learning.

All of the details of supporting Halloween festivities at school, including the wearing of costumes, which often requires a lot of support from adults for our youngest learners are more challenging to make successful this year - this relates particularly to masking and social distancing.

With the calendar configured as it is, and with the challenges of COVID, social distancing, masking and more during weather that is not guaranteed to provide outdoor opportunities - we know that these precious days we have at school together are spent with as few distractions or disruptions as possible.

Luckily, with Halloween on a Sunday, students will have ample time to trick-or-treat and spend time together prior to their return to school on November 1. We appreciate your support and understanding this year. We look forward to supporting other typical festivities later in the year and supporting Halloween appropriately in 2022.

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Questions? Comments?

Please feel free to reach out to ask any of our office staff for help!