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Transition Back to In-Person, Parent Update 9/17/2020
Matt Stines
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Good Afternoon Parents,

Thank you for all of your flexibility, dedication, and patience this year. We knew walking in that this would be a start of school like no other, and it could not have happened successfully without all of us working together as a team. Thank you for your ongoing support for our schools and our community.  

Since the start of school, when "strongly encouraged" to begin remote, myself, and all the other area superintendents have been working with the Health Department on returning kids to the buildings. What has been approved is a transition back to the buildings where we start with selected groups of students and work back to everyone being here. This is still done under the guidelines of the IDPH recommendations and the guidance released by ISBE.

Sent via email, and also posted on the website, is a detailed plan for transitioning students back. We are going back to or initial plan for starting school in August.

Students returning to the buildings will be the ones who chose to be in-person. Families/ students who chose to learn remotely in August will remain remote through the first quarter, as originally planned. We will make adjustments for the second quarter, starting October 19th. If you would like to switch from remote to in-person, the district needs notified by September 30th. In the next week, families who selected remote initially will receive an email with a google form to complete, indicating their choice moving forward. If you initially planned to send your child to school in-person, but now feel you would like them to remain remote, please contact us and we will make an adjustment.

Our plan is to officially return students to the building next week, 9/21-9/25, with Special Education students only, by appointment/ agreement with parents, for IEP services. All of our IEP students have unique needs, and the schedules, times, and class participation will be geared for providing direct service. Case managers will be contacting parents individually to schedule. Parents will need to provide transportation during this week.

The following week, 9/28-10/2, we will add to SpEd with our PreK, K, and 5th grades. At this time we will go back to the normal schedule for school start and end times with an early release on Friday; Grant Middle School (M-Th 7:40am – 2:20pm, Friday 7:40 – 12:15) and Illini Elementary (M-Th 8:30am – 2:50pm,  Friday 8:30am – 1:00pm). Buses will be running this week for eligible students. Latch Key will be available for eligible students who are coming to the building.

Our third transition week, 10/5-10/9, we will have all in-person students in the buildings. Buses will run normal routes for eligible students and Latch Key will be open again.

Breakfast and lunch will be available for students in both buildings. For remote students, breakfast and lunch will still be available for pickup at Grant. The waiver from USDA is in effect through December. All students are eligible for breakfast and lunch at no cost while the waiver is in effect.

All of the guidelines and safety precautions presented at the beginning of the year will still be in full effect. Everyone in the building will need to wear a mask. We will social distance. There are enhanced cleaning procedures. We will do everything possible to protect everyone while at school.

Please remember that all plans are subject to change and there will be times where we have to make adjustments. I am sure we will have students and staff who will need to quarantine because of a possible exposure. We may have instances where we may have to ask individual students, classes, grade levels, buildings, or everyone, to once again go to remote learning while we work through situations. We will make every effort to communicate with affect families as soon as possible. Please make sure you have a ‘plan B’ and a ‘plan C’ for emergency contacts and child care for if we have to switch again quickly.

All of us are extremely excited to have students returning back to the buildings! Remote learning has been good, but nothing compares to having staff and kids together.