Dear District 86 Community,
During the board of education meeting on Aug. 12, I presented our plan for the opening of the 2021-22 school year. You can access that presentation by visiting https://bit.ly/2VRVxpy
- Returning to in-person instruction on a full-time basis for all students (regardless of their vaccination status) when school starts on Aug. 26.
- Resuming our traditional bell schedule for instruction and lunch.
- Maintaining the mitigation protocols from last year regarding hand hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing our buildings, room ventilation and social distancing.
- Continuing to provide students with support based on their academic and social and emotional learning needs.
- Continuing to encourage students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
- Continuing to promote opportunities for students and staff to get vaccinated.
Everyone (e.g., students, staff, visitors to our buildings, etc.), regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a face covering when they are indoors. This includes students who are participating in indoor sports and those who ride the bus to and from school.
- Students can remove their face coverings while they are seated and eating lunch. However, they will need to have them on at all other times while they are in that space.
- Students and staff will not be required to wear face coverings while they are outside. However, IDPH and ISBE recommend that individuals who are not fully vaccinated wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where the transmission levels are substantial or high.
- Some members of our community have expressed concern that wearing face coverings will increase the amount of carbon dioxide people are breathing in on a daily basis. This concern is based, in part, on a research letter titled “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial” that was published by JAMA Pediatrics. The organization retracted this letter on July 16 due to “fundamental concerns about the study methodology, uncertainty regarding the validity of the findings and conclusions, and the potential public health implications.” Furthermore, medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic have provided information that debunks the research and other myths about face coverings.
- The board has approved a contract with SHIELD Illinois to provide the district with access to a diagnostic screening and testing system. Our current plan is to roll out this system on Sept. 8.
- Any student or employee may give consent to participate in the SHIELD screening program. However, any unvaccinated student or employee who is involved in or is leading a district-sponsored extracurricular activity or sport must take part in the screening program in order to participate in that activity or sport.
- As stated above, DCHD determines the rules and requirements for quarantine. This includes whether testing can be used to keep students and staff in school who are deemed to be a close contact, but are exhibiting no symptoms of COVID-19 and have not tested positive for the virus.
- The screening and testing system will enable students and staff who are deemed to be part of an outbreak (two or more cases linked epidemiologically that do not share the same household and are not listed as close contacts of each other outside the outbreak setting) to remain in school.
- We are currently awaiting information from IDPH and SHIELD about testing protocols. We are also communicating with DCHD about the quarantine options and whether testing can be used to help keep students and staff in school. We will keep you updated on both these situations. In the meantime, you can access additional information about SHIELD Illinois by visiting https://bit.ly/3iGighz.
Additional Operational Items
- Lunch will feature a selection of pre-packaged options that students can pay for with cash or through their PushCoin account.
- If the community transmission level for the county is high, there will be no districtwide staff gathering for institute day, curriculum nights will be virtual and parent-teacher conferences will be conducted via phone.
- The district used a grant to secure 226 hotspots with unlimited internet service for students whose families are facing financial issues. If you have questions or need more information about this resource, please contact the district's Help Desk at (630) 655-6180.
Each of our schools will be sending their students and families an email on Aug. 24 that will feature building-specific information for the 2021-22 school year.
In addition to sharing the details about our opening plan, I want to provide you with the updated student vaccination rates for our buildings as of Aug. 13. Those rates, which reflect the percentage of students who have provided us with proof that they are fully vaccinated, are as follows:
- 45.04% of students from Hinsdale Central
- 22.96% of students from Hinsdale South
- 13.39% of students from the Transition Center
As a reminder, these calculations assume that the students we do not currently have records for have not been vaccinated.
If you still need to provide us with your child’s vaccination record, you can bring a copy of it to their school or email it to our nurses via the addresses listed below.
If you or your child still want or need to get vaccinated, you can find the location(s) nearest you by visiting https://www.vaccines.gov/
Lastly, some of you have inquired about the vaccination rates for our staff. Our human resources department is currently in the process of collecting that information, which we will include in future updates.
Thank you very much for your time and attention to this message. I look forward to seeing everyone back in our buildings on Aug. 26.