This Week in School and Campus Safety

Good afternoon,

This Weekly Update by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program provides information on Illini Bluffs School District sharing reopening/mitigation information with the US Dept. of Education, links to earthquake preparedness and mitigation videos, shares CDC guidance on case investigation and contact tracing for Institutions of higher education, and provides information on the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard through the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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Laura Black
Program Coordinator
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program
Illini Bluffs SD #327 Contacted by US Dept. of Education for Information on School Reopening Plans

Illini Bluffs School District #327 was recently contacted by the US Department of Education in regards to taking part in a "virtual showcase" to discuss the district's return to school plan. According to Illini Bluffs Superintendent Dr. Roger Alvey, the Department of Education has reached out to schools across the US and plans "on using lessons learned to educate other schools that are currently engaged in remote learning but plan on opening soon, for in-person instruction." Students, employees, and parents had a discussion with Frank Brogan, the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, where he conducted a Q&A session and learned about the district's reopening and mitigation strategies.

In speaking with the Department of Education, Dr. Alvey stressed that communication is the most important thing. Districts and schools need to communicate frequently and consistently with parents. Illini Bluffs has maintained communication with parents throughout the return to school process and recently shared a video about their COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

For districts in the process of planning their return to in-person learning, Dr. Alvey noted the tremendous costs associated with returning, as well as the potential scarcity of items. As a result, Illini Bluffs decided to build some things themselves, including building their own hand sanitizer stations to mount dispensers on and making their own plexiglass dividers. Illini Bluffs has also received donations of cleaning products and sanitizer for their sanitizer stations and disinfectant sprayers from local businesses.

Presently, Illini Bluffs has about 75% of students doing in-person learning and Dr. Alvey thinks that number will continue to grow.
Earthquake Preparedness and Mitigation Videos

With one week to go until the Great ShakeOut Drill, and over 133,000 participants registered from Illinois K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, now is a good time to promote earthquake preparedness and safety. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) website has an Earthquake Mitigation Videos page with videos on several topics including building emergency supply kits, safely storing items in your home, preparing utilities, securing items, etc. The Ready Illinois website also features an Earthquake Preparedness Videos page with brief videos on what to do if you are inside, outside, or driving when an earthquake happens, as well as other earthquake preparedness videos. IEMA features additional information on its Earthquake Preparedness page and Ready Illinois provides additional information on its Earthquake page.
CDC Provides Guidance on COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the "Interim Guidance for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)" for administrators. The guidance includes information on federal, state, and local legal considerations; roles and responsibilities; assisting the health department with contact tracing; etc.
NAESP and the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), in collaboration with other organizations including the AASA and NASSP, has worked to establish a National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard. In order to receive data on COVID-19 in schools, the NAESP has created a baseline and follow-up survey system. For more information on the Dashboard and surveys, visit NAESP's We Need Better Data on COVID-19 in Schools page.
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program