COVID-19 Update

January 16, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

Thank you for your continued support as we work through the impact and disruptions of COVID-19 these last two weeks.  

Our goal remains to return all students to in-person learning as soon as possible, and as we are able to bring students back, we will do so.  

We continue to monitor our COVID-19 situation daily. With the new Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidance issued last week, we are expecting the shortened quarantine and exclusion time will assist us in ensuring we have staff to adequately manage our classrooms.  

There are currently 125 staff members that are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. We have identified 73 staff members who are eligible to return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.  

Based on what we know now, we anticipate that we will be able to return at least some of our students to in-person learning on Monday, January 24, 2022.   

Please remember that students or staff who test positive for COVID-19, or are considered a close contact to a positive case, may return after five days of quarantine or inclusion if they are fever-free for 24 hours, have improved symptoms and remain in a masked environment.  

To help provide answers to questions surrounding the new IDPH and ISBE guidance and District procedures, we have put together a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document. You can see that document here. It will be updated with any new information.  

We will continue to communicate updates and any changes.  


Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.



#FridayFeature: Janet Wiltshire

Janet Wiltshire | Hamel Elementary | Secretary

After 36 and a half years with District #7, Hamel Elementary secretary Janet Wiltshire will retire at the end of January. She is one of the District’s longest active employees.

A resident of Midway, Wiltshire began her District #7 career in August 1985 on the playground at Midway Elementary.

“It was close enough that I could go back and forth from home and work easily, and my daughter was in first grade at that time.”

Her time with District #7 has also included working in the Midway Media Center and serving as secretary at both Glen Carbon Elementary and Goshen Elementary. She came to Hamel in 2017.

Of course, there were other “unofficial jobs” she did along the way from subbing as a custodian to being a special education assistant and even helping the part-time nurse at Hamel.

“I think I’ve done everything expect be a teacher. I’ve always done anything and everything that was needed.”

Working in one place for 36-plus years is not something many are able to do.

According to Wiltshire, it’s been the people that have kept her in the District.

“It didn’t matter what school I was at. The people have always been wonderful.”

She’s seen a lot of change in her 36 years – most notably the fact that everything is now on computers – and has also been seeing a second generation of students come through the buildings.

“Some of the students at Hamel now, I had their parents at Midway. It’s good to see those former kids grow up and be successful and happy.”

Wiltshire never expected or planned to retire, but the decision for her retirement came with the birth of her first grandchild born last June.

“She lives in Kansas City with my son and daughter-in-law and he’s a minister there, which means they are not off on the weekends and I am. And I just want to be able to see her more.”

Although Wiltshire is looking forward to more time with her granddaughter and more motorcycle rides with her husband, stepping away from Hamel and District #7 will not be easy.

“I will definitely miss the kids the most. And the people I work with. I love the teachers at Hamel, they are all very sweet.”


Updated IDPH/ISBE Guidance & COVID-19 Update

January 12, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

On January 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-03, which adopts the CDC’s recently modified quarantine and isolation periods. As a result, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have both updated joint guidance for schools, consistent with the CDC recommendations and Executive Order requirements.  

Highlights of this new guidance include:

  • Individuals who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to return to school after 5 days providing they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms; however, returning students must remain in a masked environment. 
  • Student-athletes who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to attend practice on day 6 after testing positive if they are not experiencing symptoms but must remain masked and will not be able to participate until day 11.  

PreK-2nd, CASTLE and FLS students only: If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Friday, January 7, 2022, your child may return on Thursday, January 13, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Wednesday, January 12, 2022, your child may return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. Additional information regarding Kid Zone will be communicated later this evening. 

The process of reporting new COVID-19 positive cases, close contacts status or the onset of COVID-19 symptoms has not changed. As always, please continue to monitor students for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them at home if they are sick. 

 Even with the accelerated return of several staff next week, District #7 continues to see large numbers of new COVID-19 cases that are having a direct impact on our schools.  

  • 112 staff members are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. 
  • At our primary schools, we continue to experience a student absence rate of between 25 and 30% district-wide.  
  • First Student, our bus company, continues to experience a shortage of personnel to run all required transportation routes. 

 Due to the substantial number of new cases, it continues to be difficult for District #7 and the Madison County Health Department to conduct prompt investigations to identify and to exclude close contacts. As a result of this, 3rd-12th grade students will remain in an adaptive pause and participate in remote learning through Friday, January 21, 2022. Our goal remains to return to in-person learning as soon as possible, and we will provide an update of our status on Thursday, January 20. PreK-2nd grade students and all students enrolled in the FLS/CASTLE programs will remain in person.   

 A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document that provides more information on updated IDPH/ISBE guidance and district procedures will be forthcoming. 

Again, we thank you for your continued support as we work through the impact and disruptions of COVID-19. It has been a trying start to 2022, but we will continue to push forward together.  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.


COVID-19 Testing at Liberty Middle School

District #7 is partnering with My Blooming Health, a St. Louis based clinic, to provide COVID-19 testing for its staff and students.

This test is FREE, but appointments must be made at:

When registering for the test, you will see a field that requires insurance information. In that field, enter “NONE” so that the order is processed correctly. If you leave that field blank, you will not be able to schedule an appointment.

Both a PCR (lab based test) and Rapid Result tests are offered to District #7 staff and students only at this time. The results typically return between 24 and 48 hours.

The clinic will be set up at the back of Liberty Middle School at entrance #21. Appointments can only be set up through the link provided above. When you come in for your appointment, you must practice social distancing and wear a mask.



#FridayFeature: Katie Bevis-O’Neal

Katie Bevis-O’Neal is no stranger to District #7. She attended the schools, served as a middle school teacher and coach for 14 years, and now is the interim principal at Albert Cassens Elementary School.

Bevis-O’Neal makes the move to Cassens after a semester as the District’s administrative intern. She began her career in District #7 by teaching seventh grade for two years followed by 12 years of sixth-grade science.

Bevis-O’Neal, who comes from a family of educators, credits her fifth-grade teacher at Columbus as the reason for her career in education.

“She made learning fun and was working just as hard as we were, so it was easy to see the difference she made in my life. Because of that I knew I wanted to make that same difference in another child’s life someday.”

Having grown up in Edwardsville (her family moved here in 1993) and the opportunity to raise her family in this community is a huge reason that she has stayed in District #7 for the length of her career.

“I love this community and it is such a wonderful place to raise kids. I always think of myself being a kid and being raised in this community and I’ve always wanted my kids to go to the school in the community I work in. Being able to live right here in Edwardsville and to raise my children in this community makes it really easy to stay here.”

Bevis-O’Neal credits her leadership skills as one of the reasons she wanted to make the move from the classroom to administration.

“Whether it has come from my coaching experience or even my time as an athlete when I was younger, I’ve always felt that I’ve had leadership skills. Those skills will be valuable to help our teachers grow so they are continuing to provide the best education for our students in District #7. So while I’m not necessarily hands on with the students, I am secondary hands on and I know I can help the teachers be the best they can be.”

It’s those leadership skills and traits that Bevis-O’Neal is looking to bring to Cassens, along with excitement and relationship building. She is also focused on students and their growth.

“Our goal is to have Cassens elementary students succeed and grow in all aspects of life. Obviously academically, but we also want to see them grow as students and individuals.”

Bevis-O’Neal is excited to be at Cassens and has already hit the ground running.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the families, the students and working with the wonderful staff.”


EHS Senior Wins US Congressional App Challenge

After months of high-level computer programming work, Edwardsville High School senior Jordan Schaeffer has earned national recognition by taking first place in the US Congressional App Challenge for Illinois Congressional District #13.

Every year, U.S. representatives challenge students in their districts “to create and submit their own original apps for a chance to win the Congressional App Challenge,” according to the competition’s website. Each winning app may be put on display at the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

Schaeffer won for his app called “Peace of Mind”, which he says is more of an experience than a game.

“When you put on the virtual reality headset, you are transported into this world that’s calm and peaceful. You’re sitting by a campfire in the forest on a starry night and can hear the locusts in the background. You can look around and take a step away from everything that may be stressing you out.”

Schaeffer began developing the app in August and finished the product in October.

He says he was really surprised to win.

“I wasn’t even expecting to place. I actually didn’t even know when I’d get the results and then one day I got an email saying I got first place. It was exciting.”

This is the first time Schaeffer has created an app.

“I’ve always been more of hands-on hardware person. I like working with computer electronics and the hardware, but I have found some interest in the software. It can definitely be rewarding when you work with it and can build things.”

This is the fourth time since 2016 that an EHS student has won the nation’s most prestigious prize in student computer science.

“The students can use any software to create their applications,” said EHS Business/Applied Technology teacher Dene Schickedanz. “There are no restrictions on the type of app or the software used to create it. I use the MIT App Inventor cloud based software to teach the students with no coding experience which is a great way to introduce kids of all ages into app creation.”

Schaeffer credits EHS’s success in the app challenge to the business and technology program and its outstanding teachers.

“They encourage you and push you to do your best,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this otherwise.”

Edwardsville High School US Congressional App Challenge History

1st – Ian McAtee & Seth Davey “Interactive Computer Design”

1st – Adam Walters “Pixel Skies”

3rd – Leonardo De La Torre Cruz, Karlye Murray, Jeffrey Cummings “EHS Map”

1st – Connor Sweet & Sam Msengi “Quest for the Golden Head”

No competition due to COVID

1st – Jordan Schaeffer “Peace of Mind”



Holiday Greetings from Dr. Patrick Shelton

Watch Dr. Shelton’s holiday message here

Happy Holidays District #7 Community!

It has been a busy and wonderful first semester in all of our schools – from academics to athletics and fine arts – we have learned and accomplished so much. As we prepare to put 2021 in the past, I hope you have the same sense of pride as I do for all we have accomplished together over the last year. The pandemic has taken a toll on us all, but we continue to have a district filled with dedicated educators, a supportive community and students who excel in so many areas.

As we move into 2022, I remain hopeful for our future and believe the best in District #7 is yet to come.

On behalf of the Board of Education and the District, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Thank you for all you do and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!


Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.

Smith’s 4th Grade Class Surpasses Food Drive Goal

It’s the season for giving and that’s just what Roni Smith’s 4th grade class at Woodland Elementary School did.
The students held a successful canned food and non-perishable drive for the Glen-Ed Pantry, collecting 2,214 items – which far surpassed their goal of 1,750 items.
The students created flyers to hang around the school that reminded their fellow students and staff about the importance of giving to those less fortunate. Smith said the students enjoyed seeing so many of their peers throughout the building contribute to the drive and that they were excited about how they would be helping the community.
Smith added that for reaching their goal, her students will have a pajama day on Friday.

Lincoln F.I.T & GO Hold Drive for Glen-Ed Pantry

Lincoln F.I.T (Friends in Touch) and G.O. (8th grade leadership group) more than collected just a few items to benefit the Glen-Ed Pantry. Their largest collection to date totaled over 85 boxes of items with the food donations weighing in at 1,624 pounds, while more than 1,500 toys were collected. In addition, students raised more than $1,200 to shop for a family they “adopted” for Christmas and collected $400 in gift cards.

According to F.I.T/GO leader and Lincoln Prevention Counselor Mark Tschudy, nearly 75 student leaders helped organize the school-wide event with each of these students being responsible for activity period classrooms. They went into classrooms each morning with student-led incentives and activities to encourage their classmates to donate, which included candy, donuts, popcorn parties, dressing up in costumes and even pies in the face for reaching goals.

The students wrapped 85 different boxes to collect the donations, which were provided to each activity period. The students also used their creativity and marketing skills to create posters and a couple of promotional videos to drum up excitement and awareness.

All donations were delivered to Glen-Ed Pantry earlier this week to benefit District #7 families in need. (Fun fact: it took two school buses to deliver the items – one for all the donations and one for the students).