July 16th, 2021

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July 16th, 2021

July 16th, 2021

Dear D57 Families,
 
I hope this email finds you enjoying your summer!  It is truly an honor to serve as the superintendent of District 57, a district so dear to my heart. I began my District 57 journey as the principal of Westbrook School in 2011, and in 2019 transitioned to become the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. I am grateful to work for an organization and community that deeply values education and works together to create outstanding learning outcomes for children. We have important, exciting work ahead! 
 
On Tuesday, July 27 from 5:30-7 PM, I will be hosting a meet and greet for District 57 families at the Westbrook School Playground. Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar, the new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and Mr. Jason Kaiz, the new Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, will join me. We hope to see you and your children there! 
 
Please take a moment to read the following information, including the District 57 Board of Education’s decisions about masking when school resumes in August and a remote learning program for the 2021-2022 school year. Last night’s entire board meeting can be viewed by clicking here
 
Back to School Information
As many of you may know, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have formally adopted the July 9 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Last night, the Board of Education determined how CDC guidance will be implemented when D57 students return to school in August. To fight the spread of Covid-19, District 57 will continue applying layered mitigation strategies such as frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette, encouraging students and staff to stay home when sick and get Covid-19 tested, consistent and correct mask use, cleaning and disinfection, and physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. More specific information will be provided below. 
 
Masking
Following CDC, IDPH, and ISBE guidance, the D57 Board determined the following rules for the start of the 2021-2022 school year: 
  • Unvaccinated individuals,  including students and staff, will be required to wear masks while indoors. Individuals who have been fully vaccinated will have the option to continue wearing a mask while indoors. 
 
  • All individuals, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who ride the school bus will be required to wear masks while on the bus. 
 
  • When outdoors, including during recess, students, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be allowed to remove their masks. 
 
To inform future decisions involving the phasing out of any mitigation strategies, including masking, the Board has directed Administration to closely monitor and provide regular updates on Covid-19 cases within D57 schools. In addition, in the weeks ahead, the district will be providing families with more detailed information, including specific directions for providing proof of children’s vaccination status, directions for families whose children may qualify for a mask exemption, and other related topics. 
 
Vaccinations Available
Vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis at many local pharmacies or find a location through the IDPH website. Please check for availability and if appointments are necessary. If your child is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine but has not yet received one, the following dates apply to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school, in order to have the option of not wearing a mask:
  • First dose by Saturday, July 17
  • Second dose on Saturday, August 7
  • Fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second dose:  Saturday, Aug. 21
 
No Daily Self-Certification
District 57 will no longer require families to submit a daily self-certification of the absence of Covid-19 symptoms for their child. Instead, families will be informed that they are certifying that their children are symptom-free by sending their children to school each day. District 57 will provide periodic reminders of Covid-19 symptoms to families. 
 
Periodic Access to Remote Learning
Following ISBE’s requirement, students have short-term access to remote learning only when they are:
  1. Positive for Covid-19, but are asymptomatic (no symptoms)
  2. Under mandatory quarantine as indicated by the IDPH decision tree
 
In the scenarios above, students who receive approval from the District for short-term access to remote learning would “zoom into” their classroom/s with their assigned teacher/s during the duration of their quarantine. Again, more specific information will be provided by school principals before the start of the school year. 
 
Attendance Policy/Sick Days
When students are experiencing symptoms of an illness, they will be required to stay home. Students will not participate in remote learning when they are ill. 
 
Social Distancing
The CDC continues to name social distancing as a key mitigation strategy to reduce the spread of Covid-19; however, social distancing is no longer required to be 3-6 feet between students. District 57 will strive to provide at least 3 feet of distancing between students when possible during the 2021-2022 school year, but this will not be guaranteed in all settings based on space and supervision limitations. 
 
  • Social Distancing at Lunch-Within the limitations of space and available supervision, the District will strive to maximize social distancing during lunchtime to the greatest extent possible. 
 
Contact Tracing/Quarantining
In instances of positive Covid-19 cases and confirmed close contacts, the District will continue to follow quarantining requirements from the local health department. In addition, the District will monitor updates from the CDC and IDPH related to any changes for how close contacts will be defined and how quarantining requirements may be updated for the 2021-2022 school year. More information will be provided to families as it becomes available. 
 
My Administrative Team and I will be working hard to continue planning for a safe and smooth transition back to school in the days ahead. We are committed to fostering a climate of respect and acceptance for all community members, regardless of vaccination status or views on masking. 
 
Remote Learning Program Update
Last night, the Board of Education adopted a Board Policy allowing the district to offer a remote learning program for students who qualify. Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar, provided the Board of Education with an overview of the Remote Learning Program. Dr. Vonder Haar’s presentation on the remote learning program can be viewed by clicking here
 
Here are the key takeaways:
  • The Remote Learning Program will be provided through a concurrent teaching model, meaning teachers will teach remote students on zoom while simultaneously teaching students in person.
  • The District is required by state statute to ensure that the remote learning program will best serve a student’s individual learning needs. Therefore, the District will create a plan for making this determination for each child interested in remote learning. 
  • Parents/Guardians whose children are approved for the Remote Learning Program will be required to attend an orientation before the beginning of the school year. 
  • Once a child who has been approved for the Remote Learning Program transitions to in-person learning, she/he will not be allowed to return to learning remotely. 
 
Early next week, District 57 families who have expressed an interest in remote learning for the 2021-2022 school year will receive information from Dr. Vonder Haar, including a timeline for the approval process and the mandatory parent/guardian orientation dates. 
 
Financial Updates
Last night, Mr. Kaiz presented financial projections and budget assumptions to the Board of Education. In August, the Board will vote to approve the tentative budget, and in September, the Board will vote to approve the official budget for the 2021-2022 school year. Mr. Kaiz’s presentation can be viewed by clicking here
 
Warm Welcome
Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Elise Dean to the District 57 Family! Mrs. Dean will serve as the new Assistant Principal at Lions Park School, which became available when Mrs. Danielle (Dillon) Crandall was named the new Westbrook Principal. Before joining our team, Mrs. Dean worked as a teacher and instructional coach in Schaumburg School District 54 for sixteen years. Mrs. Dean is excited to serve the Lions Park Students, Staff, and Families! 
 
Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar and Mrs. Elise Dean

(Left) Dr. Kristin Vonder Haar, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and (Right) Mrs. Elise Dean, Lions Park School Assistant Principal 
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Have a great weekend!
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