07/16/2020 Important Message from District 89

July 16, 2020

Dear D89 Parents, Students and Staff,

Our district is preparing for the 2020-2021 academic year following the closures of all Illinois schools in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We understand that you may have concerns related to the opening of schools in the fall. We want to communicate the steps we are taking to safely open our school facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, families and staff members. School District 89 is committed to fulfilling its mission and vision so that all students are provided with a high-quality education that prepares them for future success regardless of the instructional model they receive this upcoming academic year.

Our Return to School Plan is based upon the following commitments:

  • Maintain the health and safety of all students and staff;
  • Provide meaningful, engaging, and equitable academic experiences for all students;
  • Address the social and emotional needs of all students, staff and families;
  • Provide consistency and stability for all students and staff;
  • Provide continuous professional learning opportunities for staff that address social emotional and academic needs unique to these times and circumstances;
  • Maintain consistent and frequent communication with all stakeholders;

As a district we must also follow the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) safety guidance which are as follows:

  • Require the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings, by staff and students. We will provide 2 cloth face masks for every student and staff member in our district and everyone in our district will be expected to wear a face covering.
  • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space.
  • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible. As a district we will adhere to the 6 feet of physical social distancing to try to mitigate any risk to our students and staff.
  • Require that schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individual self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings or buses.
  • Maintain high quality cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Based upon the guidance from ISBE and IDPH as well as feedback obtained via surveys from both families and staff members it has become abundantly clear that the only viable option for our district is to implement a blended/hybrid learning model. This blended/hybrid model means that students will have in-person instruction 2 days a week with remote instruction (eLearning) 3 days a week. Students will attend school on either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday with Wednesday being a remote instructional day for all students. Your school principal will communicate the days that your children will be attending in person by the end of the month. Our goal is to ensure that siblings attend school on the same days. We will be modifying the instructional day, so students in 6th – 8th will be dismissed at 1:45 and students in K – 5th will be dismissed at 2:30. There are no changes to the instructional day for preschool students. The modified schedule along with Wednesdays will allow for deep cleaning of our schools. More specific information regarding our hybrid approach will be shared in the coming weeks. We will also be developing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that will likely address additional questions and concerns you may have.

It is important to note that our current plan and approach is based on what we know today. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and the latest guidance from federal, state and local health officials as well as any additional guidance from ISBE. Conditions related to COVID-19 will likely continue to be a fluid and evolving situation throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Our return to school plan has been developed to be flexible enough to respond to changing health conditions and guidance and to meet the diverse needs of our students.

We look forward to welcoming our students back to school next month on August 24th. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support as we continue to navigate these constantly evolving times.

Partners in Education,
Dr. David Negron