Dear District 86 Community,
During the board of education meeting on July 22, I provided an update on our return to school plan for the 2021-22 school year. You can access that update by visiting https://bit.ly/3isPobj
- Return to in-person instruction on a full-time basis for all students (regardless of their vaccination status) when school starts on Aug. 26. As I shared in my message to you on June 24, the only students who can request to start the year in a remote instructional model are those who have a documented medical condition that prevents them from getting the vaccine.
- Resume our traditional bell schedule for instruction and lunch.
- Revise our requirements for face coverings. Wearing face coverings in our buildings will be optional for all, but strongly encouraged for those who are not vaccinated. However, per the guidance referenced above, anyone who is riding on a school bus will be required to wear one. While this is the approach we are taking at this time, we intend to keep our practices regarding face coverings aligned with the recommendations or requirements from the CDC and IDPH. We will also work to ensure that anyone who chooses to wear a face covering in our buildings feels fully supported in their decision.
- Maintain the mitigation protocols from last year regarding hand hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing our buildings, room ventilation and social distancing. The CDC and IDPH currently recommend maintaining a distance of 3 feet in classrooms and lunch spaces.
- Continue providing students with support based on their academic and social and emotional learning needs from last year.
- Continue encouraging students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
- Continue to follow the guidelines for close contacts and quarantine. A close contact is anyone who is not vaccinated (with or without a face covering) who was within 3 feet of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (with or without a face covering) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period during which the person with COVID is deemed to have been infectious. At this time, IDPH and the CDC recommend that a person who is a close contact quarantine for 14 days. However, the CDC has also provided options for reducing the duration of the quarantine period that local health departments may implement using symptom monitoring and diagnostic testing. You can access information about those options by visiting https://bit.ly/3BzE85o. Please note that while students who need to quarantine will receive assistance and support from the Student Success Center, there will be no classroom instruction conducted via Zoom for these individuals.
- Transition from the COVD-19 data dashboard we used last year to the one created by the CDC, which provides updated information (e.g., level of community transmission, cases, vaccinations, etc.) by county on a daily basis.
- Continue promoting opportunities for students and staff to get vaccinated. At this time, 45% of people ages 12 to 17 in DuPage County are fully vaccinated, and 70% of the county's eligible population (ages 12 or older) has received at least one dose. 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/.
In addition to sharing this update, I want to strongly encourage you to please provide us with your child’s proof of vaccination as soon as possible. Having access to this information will enable us to:
- Finalize our plans for the fall.
- Adjust or modify our plans should there be updates to the guidance for schools or changes in the transmission level for the community.
- Streamline the contact tracing process and make it easier to identify those who will need to quarantine should we experience a positive case. According to the guidance from the CDC and IDPH, students and staff who are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are a close contact unless they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
If you took part in the vaccination clinics we hosted during the last several months, you should receive an email from Jewel-Osco about how you can download a free digital vaccine record. You can see what that email looks like by visiting https://bit.ly/3hZdImc
. If you received the vaccine elsewhere, you can give us a copy of your vaccination card or any other official vaccination record provided by your healthcare provider.
Below are the email addresses you can use to send your child’s vaccination record to the nurses for their school.
Please note that if we do not receive information for a student, we will operate under the assumption that they have not been vaccinated.
Thanks to everyone’s collective efforts, which included the support of and adherence to our mitigation strategies, we were the only high school district in DuPage County last year that offered some level of in-person instruction from October until the final day of school. This included a return to in-person learning with lunch on a full-time basis following spring break. While we are relaxing some of these strategies for the fall, it is imperative that we continue to monitor the spread of the virus and act accordingly if it increases in our area. It is also critical that we continue working together to uphold our shared commitment to keeping our students and staff healthy, safe and in school.
We will present our final plan and recommendations for the start of the school year during the board meeting on Aug. 12. In the meantime, we will keep you updated on any changes that are made to the guidance at the local, state or national level.
Thank you very much for your time and attention to this message. I hope you enjoy the last several weeks of summer break.