Jan. 29: Hybrid transition

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Jan. 29: Hybrid transition

Friday, January 29th, 2021
A Message From Your Superintendent
As we finish our second week of hybrid learning for many of our students, I’m pleased to report that we’ve had a smooth transition overall. The students seem happy to be back in the buildings and have done a great job meeting the mitigation expectations. We’re proud of them, as well as our remote learners, for adapting so well to the new schedules and other changes. I want to thank our families for the important role you play – including monitoring symptoms and exposure and filling out the Raptor symptom screener each day. I also thank the teachers, staff, and administrators who have worked hard to deal with any technical glitches and get us off to a good start. And I must give a special shoutout to the custodial staff at each school for not only making sure the buildings are cleaned and sanitized before each group arrives but also for dealing with the snow this week and keeping everyone safe!

Please read these updates on our next steps and the brief recap of last night’s School Board meeting:

Elementary and Middle School Transitions
Elementary parents committed to full remote or half-day hybrid for the second trimester, which ends on February 19. Those who want to request a change beginning on February 22 must email their principal by February 5. Preferences will be honored if possible. Parents will also have the opportunity to request a change in placement for the spring once the District 57 Task Force has shared their recommendations and the School Board determines the official plan. Elementary parents received email communication on this topic from their child’s principal yesterday. 
On February 8, Lincoln will transition from its hybrid phase one model (four half days of in-person learning) to hybrid phase two model (two full days of in-person learning). Wednesdays will remain as full remote learning for Lincoln hybrid students, and they will livestream instruction on the days they are not assigned in-person learning. 

Task Force Update
The District 57 Task Force comprised of parents, staff, and administrators who have met four times as a large group and several additional times in smaller working groups devoted to research, communications, and a spring learning model. We have had productive conversations, and Dr. Mary Gorr and I are grateful to the members for their devoted time. We plan to put out a parent survey on Monday to give us an updated understanding of preferences regarding spring learning models, social distancing guidelines, and other relevant topics. Your feedback will help guide decisions regarding any changes for the spring. The Task Force will present a recommendation to the Board at the February 18 Board meeting.

Staff Vaccinations
Illinois educators are considered essential frontline workers within the Phase 1B group of vaccine distribution, which is currently underway. I have been in frequent communication with the Cook County Department of Public Health to gather information about opportunities for our staff to be vaccinated. Some staff, including our school nurses, who were in the first phase, have already received the vaccine. A few others have been able to get appointments, and we’re hopeful that many more appointments will become available over the next week. 

Other Board Meeting Updates
In addition to discussing remote and hybrid learning updates at last night’s meeting, the Board heard a presentation on my Environmental Scan, an annual analysis of trends and factors that will impact our future strategic planning. Technology Director, Mark Fijor, presented an update on the Technology Strategic Plan. The Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Adam Parisi, reviewed the summer 2021 building improvements and bids, which the Board approved. This summer, we will replace Lincoln’s hallway and common area floors, and we will add four classrooms and expand the multi-purpose room at Lions Park. Adam noted that due to the economy and the timing of the bids, the cost is $2.4 million, $400,000 less than estimated. The Board also approved student fees for the 2021-2022 school year; the fees remain the same as the previous year. You can find the detailed Board presentations, including a list of student fees, at this link.

Upcoming Half Days and Days Off
On February 12 and March 5, all students in grades 1-8, including those in remote and hybrid learning, will have remote learning in the morning and be off school in the afternoon. Circle of Friends and kindergarten students will have non-attendance days on February 12 and March 5. 
Please note that if District 57’s learning model changes for the spring, we may add an additional institute day to give staff adequate time to plan and prepare for significant changes. 
Thank you for staying up to date on all of this important information. Have a great weekend!

Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools
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