A Message from Your Superintendent
Last night, the District 57 School Board decided through a consensus that students who are currently in remote learning will continue with this model until after Winter Break, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in our area. Board members will review the status of COVID metrics at their Dec. 17 meeting, and they will consider a potential revised hybrid learning start date of Jan. 19. In an effort for the Board and Administration to gain a more updated idea of stakeholder groups’ preferences about in-person and remote learning and determine if there has been a shift in attitudes and ideas as COVID-19 metrics have worsened, there will be a short, anonymous survey sent to parents and staff in the coming weeks. This survey will not serve as a change in parents’ previously-submitted enrollment decisions for hybrid or remote.
The District will continue to provide targeted, in-person services for limited numbers of students with the highest levels of needs, such as students whose IEP teams have determined in-person services are necessary. Because there are limited numbers of these students and staff in the schools, our safety procedures have been successful and there have been very few COVID cases (which were not transmitted in the buildings). Based on the Board’s direction, we will plan to continue offering in-person learning for this group for as long as that continues.
Unfortunately, though, external COVID-19 metrics continue to get worse in our community and throughout the country. As of Tuesday, Nov. 17, the rolling seven-day average positivity rate for Mount Prospect was 16.15 percent, and there were 601 reported new cases per 100,000 individuals, which falls in the category of “substantial risk of transmission, as defined by the Illinois Department of Public Health. For this reason, we are joining the many school districts in our area and throughout the state in pausing our plans to bring larger groups of students back for hybrid learning. We know this is frustrating for many families. We share your disappointment over the delays and unwelcome change that this relentless pandemic continues to bring to our lives. We want nothing more than for students to be back in our school buildings, and we remain cautiously optimistic that this will finally be able to happen in January. In the meantime, staff members will continue to work hard to support students and keep them engaged and motivated while we must continue remote learning.
Parent-Teacher conferences will be held remotely within the window of Dec. 7 - Jan. 14. This afternoon in their school newsletters, principals will provide parents with more detailed information about how conferences will look and when conference sign-ups will be available. Teachers are eager to share updates about your child’s progress and also hear from you about how you feel things are going. Thank you for prioritizing this important time as we partner together to support your child’s success.
Also at last night’s School Board meeting, Adam Parisi, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, presented five potential financial scenarios related to the pandemic and illustrated how each one would impact the District. The purpose of presenting the different scenarios is to help the District prepare for the financial challenges we will experience as a result of the pandemic, whether we are in hybrid, remote or full in-person learning. You can find Adam’s presentation slides at this link
, and you can watch his presentation and the Board discussion in the meeting recording at this link
(around 13:25 in the video). The Board also adopted the 2020 Tentative Tax Levy last night, an increase of 4.10 percent from 2019. Keep in mind the levy is the amount requested; the property taxes we collect are always less than the levy. This is all explained in Adam’s presentation starting at the 1:07 mark in the video.
Before we start Thanksgiving break, please join me in thanking two very important groups of people who were honored with their own days of recognition this week. Sunday was School Board Members Day in Illinois, a perfect chance to recognize the seven community members who volunteer countless hours of their time – especially this year! – to guide the District and make tough decisions on behalf of students, staff and the entire community. District 57 is fortunate to have such dedicated, hard-working School Board members, and we thank them for their many contributions. Wednesday was Education Support Professionals Day, and we also greatly value these individuals who provide crucial support for students and staff every day. They play such an important role in the classroom, whether in person or remote. Thank you to our wonderful Education Support Professionals team for everything they do!
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I want you to know that we are so very thankful for everything parents and guardians are doing to support their students in remote learning, even though it can be very challenging. Please continue to stay safe throughout the break – wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings and stay home if you’re not feeling well – so we can get this surge under control and move forward with our return-to-school plans as soon as possible!
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools