Message from District 7: 10-09-2020

District 7 families,

At today’s teachers’ institute, District 7 staff members were able to receive a mix of in-person and virtual instruction–very much like many of our students. All certified staff members took part in a virtual workshop entitled “Creating an Inclusive School Community” that focused on introducing the foundational knowledge and skills to meet the needs of a multicultural school community. Time was made for teachers to meet with grade levels and departments to discuss curriculum, technology, and how to continue to best meet the needs of District 7 students. Finally, staff took part in a workshop entitled “Compassion Fatigue and Self-Care” in an effort to provide support for our staff. I hope that all families realize the effort that District 7 staff continue to put forth in these extraordinary times.

Survey for Parents of Middle and High School Students

Parents of in-person middle and high school students will receive a survey today from their student’s principal. Parents of remote middle and high school students will receive a survey today as part of a communication from Dr. Cornelia Smith. Please take the time to fill out these short surveys by 12:00 PM on Tuesday, October 13th as they will help District 7 plan for the second semester.

USDA Free Lunch Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended meal flexibilities for school districts through December 31, 2020. These flexibilities will allow District 7 schools to serve no cost meals to ALL students. This unprecedented move will help ensure that regardless of the circumstances, children will have access to nutritious food as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. These flexibilities will also make certain meals reach all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or remotely – so students are fed and ready to learn during this new and ever-changing learning environment.

The opportunity for every student in District 7 to receive free meals began on Monday, October 5, 2020. This program will continue through December 31, 2020, or until funding of the USDA program is depleted. Please encourage your students to take advantage of the opportunity to get free breakfasts and lunches!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the USDA Free Lunch Program, please contact Breanna Gordon, Food Service Coordinator at bgordon@ecusd7.org.
Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Dr. Jason Henderson

Message from District 7: 10-2-2020

District 7 Families:

One of the District’s highest priorities has been and continues to be creating a safe and healthy learning environment for both students and employees that supports the delivery of quality instruction at all levels. The District’s commitment to this priority has been even more focused over the past seven months as a result of the pandemic that has impacted the world, our country, our state and our own District 7 communities.

On July 30, 2020, a communication was sent out to all parents that explained three different scheduling models for the 2020-2021 school year. Those models included a traditional (5 days a week) learning model, a hybrid learning model, and a remote learning model. On that date, we stated that Pre-K through fifth grade students would start the school year in the traditional learning model and that grades 6 through 12 would be in the hybrid learning model for at least the first semester.

This communication confirms that District 7 will continue the traditional learning model for grades Pre-K through five and the hybrid learning model for grades 6 through 12 for the remainder of the first semester. This should provide clarity for families and eliminate the uncertainty regarding the schedule for the remainder of the first semester.

In our current situation, the hybrid learning model remains the safest option for our middle and high school students and offers a combination of live and remote instruction. The middle schools and high school have been able to conduct mitigation strategies which have allowed the District to keep our students and staff safe while providing in-person instruction for the first seven weeks of school. Through the hybrid learning model at the middle and high school levels, we have been effectively able to keep the number of staff and students quarantined to a minimum.

During the week of October 19th, District 7 will send out information to families regarding scheduling plans for all grade levels for second semester. We will allow parents the opportunity to determine what is best for their student from the available options presented.  Responses will be due to the District by the end of October. This timeline will allow the District to adequately staff for both remote and in-person classrooms for the second semester.

Keep in mind that at any time during the 2020-2021 school year, District 7 could be forced to suspend in-person instruction and move to a 100% remote setting under the following conditions:

  • The community as a whole is under a stay-at-home order from the Governor or another local or state agency.
  • The District does not have enough staff members (due to quarantine) to safely operate.
  • There are outbreaks within at least three District 7 schools.  An outbreak is defined by the Madison County Health Department as “two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases who are epidemiologically linked to the outbreak setting, have onsets of illness within a 14-day period, do not share a household, and are not listed as a close contact of each other outside of the outbreak setting.”  Individual classrooms and schools will have in-school instruction suspended prior to the entire District moving to a remote setting.  Click here for more details regarding this metric.

Student Mental Health Concerns

District 7 is continually improving programs and services to address the social/emotional needs of all students. We recently added additional mental health professionals for the 2020-2021 school year to better meet the social/emotional needs of our students. District 7 staff is available to help students through difficulties that they may be facing. This is true whether students are in an in-person, hybrid, or remote learning setting. If you would like your child to speak with a District 7 counselor, social worker, or school psychologist, please contact your child’s building principal who can help start this process.

Hybrid/Remote Learning 

District 7 understands the challenges with hybrid instruction for students, families and staff members. As students and staff members are becoming more comfortable with the schedule and the technology, we will continue to see improvements. Teachers and administrators are committed to continuing to learn new methods and instructional technology platforms to provide instruction to all students. While we recognize this is not the ideal format that any educator, parent, or student would desire in normal circumstances, we feel this is currently the best way to provide a safe learning environment for our middle and high school students.

In addition, District 7 will continue to evaluate different models of hybrid scheduling that allow students to stay socially distanced while receiving the maximum amount of in-person instruction. Any changes to the hybrid schedule would be communicated to parents at least two weeks before implementation.

Next week, District 7 will survey families and students to get additional feedback about the first quarter of the school year regarding topics such as scheduling, the hybrid learning model, and remote learning. This data will be used as part of the decision-making process as we plan for the second semester.

Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Respectfully,

Dr. Jason Henderson

District 7 is Hiring Extraordinary Care Assistants

District 7 is looking to hire extraordinary care assistants.  The job descriptions and qualifications can be found here:  http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2020/07/EXTRAORDINARY-CARE-ASSISTANTS.pdf 

Applications for this classified position can be found here: http://ecusd7.org/departments/personnel/#tab-id-6

 

Message from District 7: 9-25-2020

District 7 Families,

In a time where so much of the news around us is negative, District 7 will work hard in the coming weeks and months to share some of the many positive stories that are going on within our schools.  There are many success stories among the students and staff members that need to be shared.

Middle and High School Hybrid Updates and Clarifications

One goal for our teaching staff is to continually improve hybrid instruction at the middle and high school levels.  It is a team effort that requires hard work from both teachers and students.   We ask for parental support in this area as well.  There are many situations where a percentage of students choose not to engage with instruction on remote days.  For remote instruction to be effective, we need everyone working together.    Please click here to see a list of updates and clarifications to middle/high school hybrid and remote instruction.  

COVID-19 Update 

This week, there was one “outbreak” at Liberty Middle School which consisted of two positive COVID cases within one classroom.  As of this morning, there is one positive case at the elementary school level, three at the middle school level, and one at the high school level.

A reminder that when there is a confirmed COVID positive individual (student or staff member) within a school, the following notifications will occur:

  • All families within a school where there is a positive COVID case will receive an email notification.
  • If a student is a close contact of the COVID positive individual, the parent or guardian will be called by a school administrator or nurse.
  • All District 7 families will receive email notification if any District 7 school suspends in-person instruction due to COVID outbreaks.

In addition, if there is a current positive case within a school, families will receive an update from the building principal with a summary of the number of positive cases and the number of students quarantined as part of a regular weekly communication.   If families do not receive a letter or an update from the building principal, it means there are no positive cases within the school.

Thank you for continuing to follow the practices and procedures that allow us to keep schools open for in-person learning as well as for your continued patience and support.

Dr. Jason Henderson

COVID-19 Testing Locations

Please click the link below to see a letter from the Regional Office of Education regarding COVID-19 Testing Locations:

http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2020/09/ROE_TestingLetter_toDistricts.pdf

9-18-20 Update from District 7

District 7 Families,

A reminder that next Friday, September 25th is a remote planning day for District 7 staff members.  This means that there will be no student attendance or new instruction for in-person or remote students on this day.

COVID Communication to Families

When there is a confirmed COVID positive individual (student or staff member) within a school, the following notifications will occur:

  • All families within a school where there is a positive COVID case will receive an email notification.
  • If a student is a close contact of the COVID positive individual, the parent or guardian will be called by a school administrator or nurse.
  • All District 7 families will receive email notification if any District 7 school suspends in-person instruction due to COVID outbreaks.

In addition, if there is a current positive case within a school, families will receive an update from the building principal with a summary of the number of positive cases and the number of students quarantined as part of regular weekly communication.   If families do not receive a letter or an update from the building principal, it means there are no positive cases within the school.  As of this morning, there are two COVID positive cases at the elementary school level, two at the middle school level, and one at the high school level.

 

E-Learning Days in lieu of Snow Days

According to Section 10-20.56 of Illinois School Code, school districts may utilize “e-Learning days” in lieu of emergency days (snow days).  In order to do this, one of the requirements is that the district hold a public hearing and have an e-Learning proposal approved by the Board of Education.  In order to meet this requirement, District 7 will hold a public hearing at 5 PM on Monday, September 28th at the Woodland Elementary Cafeteria.  If the plan is approved by the Board of Education and the Regional Office of Education, District 7 will be able to use up to five e-Learning days in lieu of snow days when weather conditions make it dangerous to get students to school.

 

Parent Support for Schoology

District 7 has established  Zoom “office hours” for parents to access support with Schoology or other online platforms on Mondays from 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. and Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Click the provided link during any of the times scheduled below for live support from a District 7 staff member.

https://ecusd7.zoom.us/j/4047633696?pwd=N2tpVDNqVVJPYkVSUmdnMlRBYTUvdz09

 

Schoology Office Hours for Parents (Mondays)

Sep 21, 2020          8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Sep 28, 2020          8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Oct 5, 2020             8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

 

Schoology Office Hours for Parents (Wednesdays)

Sep 23, 2020          3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Sep 30, 2020          3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Oct 7, 2020             3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

 

Thank you for continuing to follow the practices and procedures that allow us to keep schools open for in-person learning as well as for your continued patience and support.

Dr. Jason Henderson

Health Examinations & Immunizations

This is just a friendly reminder regarding the upcoming due dates for health examinations and immunizations.  The link below outlines the specific requirements for each grade level.  Proof of physicals and immunizations must be turned in to your student’s building nurse no later than October 15th.

http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2020/07/HEALTH-EXAM-FACT-SHEET.pdf

Parent Orientation to Schoology

Parents,

Once you have created your parent account within Schoology (using the access code information emailed on Monday, August 24th), you may want to join the “Parent Orientation to Schoology” course on Schoology to learn more about how to use your parent account.   Below is a list of some of the topics you will find on this course:

  • Getting Started – Parent View Video
  • Viewing Your Child’s Courses
  • Communicating with Teachers

Please click the link below for information on how to join this course.

http://ecusd7.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2020/08/How-to-Access-the-Parent-Orientation-on-Schoology.pdf

Thank you.

Important Message Regarding Schedule from District 7

District 7 Families,

The purpose of this message is to share an important change in what has been previously communicated. 

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, the Board gave direction to continue to work with the Madison County Health Department to develop metrics more specific to District 7 to determine when to suspend in-person learning rather than relying on the previously communicated county-wide metrics. The health department has informed the District that there is no evidence of any school-based transmission at this time. In addition, it was shared at the Board meeting last night that many local pediatricians continue to advocate for in-person instruction to occur to the greatest extent possible.  

As a result, District 7 schools will remain open for in-person learning even if Madison County continues to be designated in the orange “Warning” status this Friday. This week’s schedule will be unchanged with all students K-12 following the hybrid schedule.  Friday, August 28th will remain a remote day.  For the high school and middle school, this will be a typical Friday in the hybrid schedule with instruction as originally planned.  For elementary families, we will use a portion of this day as a test of our newly installed Wi Fi connectivity and will have teachers connecting with students and families virtually. This test run will help us work out technical difficulties if/when we are required to transition all students to 100% remote instruction.  

Beginning on Monday, August 31st, all students in grades 6-12 will continue following the current hybrid schedule and K-5 students will return to attending in-person five days a week. Students who are already on a 100% remote schedule will see no changes. 

While we are able to continue to provide in-person learning for now, it is important for families to be prepared for the possibility of a shift to remote learning at any time.  As of today, there are a small number of both students and staff members quarantined due to being in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, being symptomatic, or receiving a COVID-19 positive result.  Rest assured that parents will always be notified if their student was in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.  Even though our number of quarantined staff and students remains small, if this were to change, the District would be forced to suspend in-person learning and shift to a remote setting for a period of time. 

In the meantime, the way our communities can demonstrate that they value in-person instruction is by being vigilant about wearing masks and practicing social distancing. These simple steps should be practiced not just at school, but outside our school buildings as well.  Please remember that exposures outside of school will ultimately impact the District’s ability to provide in-person learning.  As the final metrics are determined in conjunction with the Madison County Health Department, these will be shared with the community. 

Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate this pandemic.