August 4, 2021
Dear Barrington 220 Community,
My hope is that this communication finds you well and that you are enjoying time with friends and family as we proceed towards the opening of school. We are excited to welcome back students in grades 1-12 and Barrington Transition Center students on Friday, August 20, as well as our kindergarten and early childhood students on Tuesday, August 24. Schools and communities across the country have struggled to balance the health and safety challenges of COVID-19 with the important development of children academically, socially and emotionally. We celebrate the fact that we will be returning for full in-person learning, 5 days a week this fall.
This afternoon Governor Pritzker announced a statewide mask mandate for all K-12 schools. This means Barrington 220 will begin the school year with universal masking for all staff and students in grades PK-12+, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will remain optional when students and staff are outdoors.
As a parent and Superintendent of Schools, I appreciate and understand the challenges of the numerous changes that have occurred over the last 18 months. The words “flexibility” and “ability to pivot” have all too often equated to a change in the learning environment for our students. Keeping students at school for in-person learning is a priority as we transition into the 2021-22 school year.
The district administrative team has been working on the development of a matrix based on community and school-based data that may be used to inform mitigation decisions moving forward. This work will continue, as it will be critical information to guide decisions when we have the ability to make them locally. We will share a draft of the matrix, as well as an overview of all mitigation strategies that will be in place for the opening of school at the Board of Education meeting on August 10 at 7pm at Barrington High School.
It is important to remember how far we have come, as one year ago many students remained at home for virtual learning. We must recognize that although there are varying opinions, success lies in our ability to have all of our students in person working with the amazing Barrington 220 staff. Our children have always looked to the adults in their lives in times of uncertainty, and it is important that we provide a calming presence as we head into this school year. I appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to welcoming our students and staff back soon.