Dear District 113 Families,
After consulting today with Lake County High School superintendents and the superintendents of elementary districts that feed into District 113, we were going to announce tomorrow that Monday would be an Institute Day to allow teachers time to do concentrated work on delivering instruction remotely, followed by eLearning days. At this moment, we are anticipating that eLearning will last until Tuesday, April 14 and that we would communicate to you about the status of school the week of April 6.
This evening, a suspected case of COVID-19 was reported to Deerfield High School administration. Although the Illinois Department of Public Health has not confirmed it, we are canceling school at Deerfield High School and Highland Park High School Friday, March 13 for all students and staff.
Our next step is to sanitize both schools, the transportation building, and the administration building. We understand that people may need to come back into the buildings to retrieve items. We will communicate when it is safe to allow people to enter the buildings and the process for retrieving items. Until you receive that communication, only those designated as critical personnel will be allowed in District 113 facilities.
Today, our District eLearning Plan was approved by the Lake County Regional Office of Education. Monday, the District 113 Board will vote to approve it. The plan was for eLearning to begin Tuesday, March 17, and while that is still the goal, we will communicate when the first day of eLearning in District 113 is and how it will work.
To the many, many of you who called and emailed me to offer your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions, I appreciate your taking the time to reach out and I apologize to those of you I have not had the time to respond. My preference would have been to have had all the information at the beginning and to formulate a plan and communicate that plan in one email. That has not been the case in dealing with this unprecedented issue, so the communication has come as the information has become known.
Moving forward, the communication will continue to follow information as it becomes known, and if what we have been through is any guide of what is to come, the information that comes out will be incomplete. The communication will accordingly be frequent and based on the best information we have at the time we communicate.
We have been working for weeks on how we would respond if school closes due to the new coronavirus. Our teachers have been working together to determine how to deliver instruction to our students, and you will not be surprised to read they have been working very hard to provide meaningful experiences as we try to do remotely what we do so well in person. We knew that we would one day have an eLearning program, but eLearning was meant for one or two snow days here and there, not a pandemic, and this is not how we ever intended to come to it. I am confident in the skills and great heart of our teachers, and we are launching more quickly than we wanted our eLearning Plan. Like anything else we do, we will learn by doing and continuously improve our ability to deliver instruction remotely, not as a replacement for being in school, but as a substitute made necessary by the moment.
Bruce Law, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools