June 25, 2020 – The following is a letter that was sent from Superintendent Paul Enderle to the District123 community regarding transition planning and state guidance.
Transition Planning & State Guidance
District 123 Families and Staff:
I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well. This week, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released a 60-page guidance document for opening schools this coming fall.
Since the end of the school year on June 4th, District 123 has been busy planning for re-entry and awaiting additional and more specific guidance from ISBE. Along with our current preparations, the ISBE guidance will continue to inform our path forward as we move closer to opening buildings again for the 2020-2021 school year. Within phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, ISBE recommends a return to in-person instruction this fall. However, our schools will look and feel very different. Additionally, we will need to be prepared to enter a period of remote instruction if a resurgence of COVID-19 affects our communities.
The ISBE guidance document specifically addresses in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing face coverings, social distancing, and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.
ISBE and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have required five changes for all public and private schools in Illinois:
- Face coverings are required. Students should bring face coverings (cloth face covering or face shield) from home.
- Students and staff must stay six feet apart as much as possible.
- No more than 50 people are allowed in one space at a time.
- Schools are conducting symptom screenings and temperature checks or requiring that individuals self-certify that they are symptom-free before entering school buildings. Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.
- A required increase in cleaning and disinfection within school spaces and time for students to frequently handwash.
As we continue our planning and transition efforts at District 123, we are deeply committed to the following:
- The safety and wellbeing of all students, staff, and families.
- A high quality and equitable educational experience.
- The maintenance of established calendars and schedules.
- Ongoing community input through advisory planning teams and surveys.
- Frequent communication and updates about the new school year.
We ask that our community also share in our commitments to reopening schools by:
- Providing your input and feedback in our process.
- Remaining patient, cooperative, and flexible to change.
- Maintaining a positive “can-do” mindset for the sake of our students.
Our door is always open for questions, concerns, or situations that may arise. We will always strive to find the best answers in service to you, our students, and the entire Oak Lawn and Hometown school community.
Thank you for your continued partnership in helping us keep our schools and our children safe and healthy as we navigate a reality that none of us could have ever imagined. Please stay safe and enjoy your summer.
Paul J. Enderle