Dear District 86 Community,
We have spent the past few days discussing whether to change our plans for spring break in light of the governor’s stay at home order and the continued spread of COVID-19. Based on the reasons below, and the feedback we have received from student, staff and parent/guardian leaders (Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee, Principal-Student Advisory Council, Hinsdale Central Parent-Teacher Organization, Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South Boosters and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association), we have decided to forgo the break in favor of extending our e-learning instructional days to include the week of March 30 and dismissing school for the year one week early (last day would be May 21 instead of May 28).
Limited Travel and Activity
Governor Prtizker’s stay at home order, which is scheduled to be in effect until at least April 7 (two days after the conclusion of our spring break), severely limits any form of travel or activity. Outside of conducting essential activities (e.g., going to the doctor, buying groceries, etc.), people are required to stay at home or at their place of residence. All places of “public amusement” (e.g., aquariums, zoos, museums, playgrounds, movie theaters, etc.) are closed, and all in-person dining service at restaurants has been suspended. In addition, all travel by “automobile, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, train, plane or public transit” that is not allowed under the order (i.e., essential travel and/or activities) is prohibited. Given these stringent parameters and tight restrictions, we believe our community would prefer exchanging this week for an extended summer break that could potentially offer more recreational options and opportunities.
Routine, Connectedness and a Greater Sense of Normalcy
A number of individuals have told us that e-learning is providing our students with a strong feeling of connectedness and sense of normalcy in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Based on the strict limitations imposed by the order, and the social and emotional challenges many people are dealing with under the current conditions, we believe the structure, routine and relational aspects of e-learning will be more beneficial for our students than a week of at-home confinement with very few outlets for managing stress and anxiety or options for engaging in self-care.
We recognize that some families may have plans to do at-home activities together during spring break. In those cases, any absence that is called in by a parent/guardian will be excused. However, any work that is missed will need to be made up.
We also realize there are a number of issues (e.g., grading e-learning assignments, status of events and activities such as prom, graduation and summer school, the need to make up the emergency days used on March 12 and 16, etc.) that may be impacted by this decision and/or the crisis in general. Below is additional information about these issues. Please note that this information may change if the governor chooses to extend the closure or the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provides new guidance on how to administer remote learning.
While Illinois schools are scheduled to reopen on April 8, we are operating under the prevailing belief that we will remain closed beyond that date. Based on this belief, we have been working with our teachers and department chairs to shift to a long-term Remote Learning Day (RLD) plan that will include a grading component.
Our current plan is to transition to the RLD plan the week of March 30, and create performance tasks or assessments that we will administer starting April 1 should the governor decide to extend his order and/or the school closure. These tasks or assessments will be developed with the knowledge and understanding that many of our students may not have access to the same number of resources and/or level of support they are accustomed to in a traditional learning environment.
While teachers will provide their students with more detailed information about the tasks or assessments, including how they will be graded, what will be standard across the board is that they will be based entirely on the work that is done from March 17 through the end of the stay at home order and/or school closure. This means that students will need to complete all of their daily assignments dating back to when school closed and online instruction began.
Given this shift in our focus and course of action for instruction, we are going to modify our schedule for next week.
Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 will be remote planning days for our teachers. This will give them additional time to assess student progress on formative tasks completed March 17-27, identify any gaps in student understanding and determine how those gaps will be addressed in future lessons. They will also have the chance to collaborate with members of their departments on the development of the summative performance tasks or assessments, which will be aligned to essential skills and concepts.
Wednesday, April 1 will be a Reading/Enrichment Day for students. On this day, students will begin preparing for the shift to the RLD plan. They will need to make sure that all work assigned during the e-learning days (March17-27) is complete (due no later than April 2). There will also be enrichment opportunities posted on teachers’ Canvas pages that will help students with the transition to the new plan, and enable those who are caught up on their assignments to remain engaged in learning. Teachers will be available on this day to provide differentiated support for individual students.
Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 will be remote learning days
that will follow the same schedule we have been using the past couple of weeks. You can access that schedule by visiting
. We will then resume this schedule in its entirety on Monday, April 6 (i.e., Monday will be a teacher remote planning day/non-attendance day for students; Tuesday through Friday will be remote learning days for students).
Events and Activities
We recognize that ending school early, extending the stay at home order or lengthening the school closure may impact events and activities such as prom, graduation and summer school. While it is difficult to formalize any plans at this point given the fluidity of the situation, we have and will continue to discuss potential options and scenarios. For example, our summer school principals are already developing an e-learning plan for the program should the stay at home order or limitations on mass gatherings remain in effect until June and July.
Emergency Days Used on March 12 and 16
Since the governor did not officially close schools until March 17, we are required to make up the emergency days we used on March 12 and 16. However, since we decided to change the Flexible Learning Day on March 18 and the half day on March 27 to full days of online instruction, those emergency days will not need to be made up at the end of the year. As a result, we will still be able to end school on May 21 as mentioned above.
As we shared in previous updates, we will continue to provide meals to families dealing with the issue of food insecurity while our schools are closed. Food deliveries will continue next week in accordance with the schedule we have been using since the start of the closure.
I continue to be incredibly proud of the way our students, staff, families and community have responded to this crisis. With that said, caring for your social and emotional health in these difficult and uncertain times is as important as maintaining your physical well-being. That is why I urge you to continue doing whatever you can to engage in some form of self-care on a daily basis. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has a number of resources available for addressing the various emotions people may be experiencing in conjunction with COVID-19. You can learn more about these resources by visiting
I also urge you to continue complying with all aspects of the stay at home order so that we can keep everyone healthy and safe.
Take care and be well.