Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you for your extraordinary support over the past several days, as we have worked together to protect our community during the growing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. To further safeguard Illinois from the spread of the virus, Governor JB Pritzker has declared mandatory school closures for all buildings, both public and private, serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. The governor has stated that these days are "Act of God" days and do not need to be made up.
This mandatory closure takes effect Tuesday, March 17. Currently, we anticipate reopening on Tuesday, March 31.
Free or reduced rate lunch and breakfast will still be available to all students that qualify. All meals will be grab and go and distributed via the multi-purpose room (MPR) at Alan Shepard. Please enter through the back door of the MPR located on the east side of the school nearest the playground.
We will also continue to have at least one administrator at each school site during our regular school day hours.
We are committed to keeping students engaged in their learning during this statewide school closure. We have prepared both print and electronic resources so your child has high quality and engaging work to complete each day of the closure. To access daily assignments for your child go to the "Remote Learning Center" link on the district homepage. The teachers have worked hard to create unique and meaningful activities for each day of the closure. We will continue to add to this resource link throughout the closure. All students with the exception of 2nd graders at Shepard and Shabbona received work packets on Friday. Those final packets will go home on Monday. You can also pick up packets at your child's school if you did not receive one and you do not have access to a printer. Please call ahead so we can have it ready for you. All students in grades 6 - 8 should bring their Chromebooks home on Monday. If your student is in grades 1-5 please complete this survey so we can determine who needs a device in order to access electronic resources during the closure. There is also information regarding access to free wi-fi during the closure.
To supplement these services, we encourage you to engage your children in other free, online educational activities. The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled a library of resources at www.isbe.net/keeplearning.
Concern over this new virus can make children anxious. It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, children's anxiety may rise. Adults should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy.
Children also need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk, so the focus of conversation should be concrete instructions about how to avoid infections and the spread of disease. Teaching children positive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. Please talk with your children about precautions they can take to stay healthy, including:
● Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if they are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a suitable alternative. Consider showing your children one of these videos about proper handwashing technique: www.cdc.gov/handwashing.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
● Stay home if you are able to stay home. Avoid travel if you can.
The National Association of School Psychologists has additional guidelines about talking to children about COVID-19 at https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource.
We will continue to inform you as quickly as we can about any further changes to school services. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Duggan or Dr. Longo at 815.929.5100.
We appreciate your partnership, and we will get through this together.