Based on the COVID-19 infection rate trends per 100,000 people in the communities that serve District 214, I am writing to inform you that we anticipate moving to Stage 3 of our return to school plan on Thursday, October 15.
For the six comprehensive high schools, we will begin a rotational schedule with one-third of students being invited to attend school for in-person instruction daily presuming that the infection rates in the communities we serve would not force a return to Stage 2. Details for in-person instruction for students at our Specialized Schools will be communicated directly to students and parents in those programs by the middle of next week. Prior to any student returning to in-person instruction, a signed student-parent agreement must be completed through Infinite Campus.
You will continue to have the choice as to whether you would like to participate remotely or in-person on your assigned days. On days when you are not in-person, you will continue to attend your courses remotely. Physical Education classes will stay fully remote as we need those spaces to accommodate students in study hall, independent student work time and/or lunch. During a student’s PE class when they are in-person, they will have the opportunity to go to a study hall or to leave campus. Schools will be planning in-person orientation activities for freshmen the week of October 5.
We developed metrics following guidance from leading public health organizations to help us guide the decision to return to in-person instruction. We will be using data from the Cook County Department of Public Health for our communities, weighted by the number of District 214 students per community, and posting the information on a dashboard on our website. That dashboard will be finalized in the next 5-7 days and will then be posted on the website. In addition, we plan to provide updated numbers to you via email each Thursday.
We will continue to monitor the number of students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms and infections and the number of students and staff in quarantine due to COVID-19 or COVID-19 exposure. For example, if we have COVID-19 outbreaks or individuals in quarantine that would not allow us to provide in-person instruction, we would need to potentially pause our return to in-person instruction either in a specific building or across the District. It is critically important for parents to keep students at home if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Reviewing the data for our communities, the seven-day rolling average is currently at 78.4 (Weekly Case Rate per 100,000 People), which would indicate we remain in our current Stage 2. Our previous weekly case rate per 100,000 people was 62.0, and we believe this week’s uptick could be attributed to Labor Day weekend activities. If the rate drops below 70.0 for ten consecutive days, we will then move to Stage 3, the Partially-Flexible In-Person/Remote Learning Plan in October as noted above. We will also continue to allow special populations and specialized programs to be invited to attend in-person instruction.
Your school will identify and communicate the group to which you will be assigned for the return to in-person instruction as well as pertinent logistical information such as transportation and check-in procedures in anticipation of moving to Stage 3.
Thank you for your review and consideration of this correspondence as well as your patience as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation.