Dear District 86 Community,
During the past few months, superintendents from across DuPage County have been imploring our state leaders to adopt a more logical and reasonable approach for managing COVID-19 in schools that will create a safe but less restrictive learning environment for students and staff. While our discussions and interactions with those leaders have been promising, significant questions still remain about a number of critical topics that include:
Masks - We need clear direction on who needs to wear them and when. This is highlighted by the inconsistent information featured in the recent executive order from Governor Pritzker and the updated guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois High School Association.
Social distancing - We need greater consistency and alignment, most notably in the guidance for classrooms and what is used to determine close contacts.
Quarantining - We need to know what the requirements will be, especially since some people will be fully vaccinated, and others will not. This will include clear direction about when people need to quarantine, the length of time they must quarantine and whether there are steps they can take to reduce this time (e.g., negative COVID tests, written authorization from a medical professional, etc.).
Lunch - We need to know what distance must be maintained in the locations where people are eating lunch. For example, if we must continue following the 6-foot rule, we will lose access to vital instructional spaces that we use for physical education classes, the administration of assessments, etc. We also need to know if we can resume our normal lunchroom operations, which would include providing buffet-style service.
Lockers and equipment - We need to know if there will continue to be restrictions on the use of lockers and sharing equipment and supplies.
Self-certification and temperature checks - We need to know if students and staff will need to continue completing a health self-certification prior to coming on campus. We also need to know if we must continue to perform temperature checks when people enter our buildings.
With this in mind, I have written a letter to a number of government officials requesting that the governor’s office, IDPH, and the Illinois State Board of Education complete an immediate review of the COVID-19 guidelines for schools and address the issues referenced above. I am also asking that the state provide us with data that shows the number/percentage of students and staff who have completed the vaccination process. You can read this letter by visiting https://bit.ly/3dzqIvQ
I am emailing you today to ask for your help in conveying the importance and urgency of this situation to our state leaders. With only eight weeks remaining before our first day of school, it is imperative that we have clear direction about expectations and requirements so that we can plan accordingly. Please note that while some members of our community have suggested the state’s guidelines are optional, we have been told by our insurance provider that not following them will put our district at serious risk from a liability standpoint.
If you would like to support our request for the creation of updated guidelines that promote safety and limit restrictions on the learning environment, please consider calling, emailing or writing a letter to the individuals listed on https://bit.ly/36ai7Mh
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. In the meantime, I want to thank you for your time and attention to this message, and for your continued support of our schools and the students we serve.