Dear Warrior Family
I’m pleased to announce, in conjunction with our feeder districts, we are planning to expand our in-person learning model when we return from spring break on Monday, April 5. The new learning model will follow a continuous instructional format and would eliminate asynchronous learning days as well as the orange and black schedules. All students who are currently on the hybrid schedule will attend school in-person Monday through Friday (five days a week), while students who have elected full remote learning will continue in a virtual format. The current daily schedule will remain the same (7:25/7:35 to 1:15/1:25) so we can continue offering digital office hours, enhanced daily cleaning, and district transportation. After we return from break, we will allow remote students another opportunity to request moving to in-person instruction, if space is available.
Here are some of the factors supporting this change in our learning mode:
- The Illinois Department of Public Health and the McHenry County Health Department support the new guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education revising the most significant factors to expanding in-person learning opportunities by changing the following:
- The social distancing guidelines went from 6 feet to 3 feet (the cafeteria still requires 6 feet of social distancing while eating).
- The previous hard cap (no more than 50) in large common areas, lunchrooms, and gyms was removed.
- A full return or expanded in-person opportunity is also supported by the school and public health community metrics that indicate districts can move to the next phase of in-person instruction.
- The majority of our teachers and staff members will be fully vaccinated after we return from spring break.
- Operationally we can support the additional students in our buildings based on the new guidance. We will also open classrooms and labs on the 3rd and 4th floor of the new West Campus extension to provide additional space. Please see the video and images below of the new learning areas that will be opened to students.
- For the good of our school community, we continue to work closely with our feeder district and align our schedules to assist parents with students in both districts to ensure we can continue to provide transportation services.
Even though the new guidance provides schools some flexibility in terms of space requirements, we still need to follow important mitigation measures to keep everyone safe in the buildings. Those measures are:
- Require universal and correct use of face masks
- Encourage social distancing as much as possible
- Conduct contact tracing in combination with the isolation of those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 as well as quarantine of close contacts in collaboration with the local health department
- Increase in school-wide cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance of healthy environments
- Reinforce good hand hygiene
The past year has been challenging for our entire school community and I appreciate your continued support as we worked incredibly hard to provide your students with the very best instruction, support, and opportunities no matter the learning model throughout this unprecedented period. As you know, our goal from the very start of the pandemic was to expand in-person learning opportunities when public health conditions and school guidance allows. At this time, public health metrics and school guidance support moving to the next phase in our learning model and progress toward opening our schools for a full return in the fall. Expanding in-person instruction, extracurricular activities, and athletics is the next step in what has been a very long journey for our school community. I know this is a major shift in our current instructional delivery model, however, I’m confident that we will meet this challenge as an important benchmark in returning to a sense of normalcy, hope for a better future, and the pathway to fully reopening our campuses in the fall.
Building administrators will send additional information to students and staff members next week. Thank you for your support as we begin to turn the corner toward expanded in-person instruction.
We Are Warriors and We Are One
Ryan McTague, Ph.D.