Return To Learn Update – 8-18-2020

District 7 Families,

Thank you to students, staff members, and parents for helping to get this school year off to a successful start.  Staff has shared that our in-person students are excited to be back and are doing an excellent job following our new procedures and protocols. Our remote learners are adjusting well to the “new” way to access school, and we appreciate the efforts our teachers have made in adjusting to alternate teaching methods.

Unfortunately, our region is now the first in the state to have restrictive mitigations triggered by a recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Although these restrictions do not apply to school districts, area district administrators continue to collaborate with the Madison County Health Department and review the recently released Illinois Department of Public Health metrics that provide information about levels of community transmission of COVID-19 within specific counties of Illinois.

Illinois Department of Public Health now shares specific county metrics and labels counties using the colors blue and orange.  The color blue indicates  the county is experiencing overall stable COVID-19 metrics.  The color orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. At this time, Madison County remains “Blue”, however, over the last few weeks, the positivity rate and the number of cases per 100,000 of the county’s population have continued to rise.   If the rates rise to certain levels, Madison County would receive an orange “Warning” designation.  The next update is scheduled to occur this Friday, August 21.  You can view the IDPH metrics and other information about the designations at the following website:

http://www.dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics?county=Madison

In the event that the Madison County metrics rise to levels that result in the county being issued an orange “Warning” designation this Friday, August 21, all students K-5 would move into Option 2—the hybrid blended model beginning on Monday, August 24.

    • Students with a last name beginning with A-L attend “A” days and students with last name M-Z attend “B” days.
    • Kid Zone will be available for students in grades K-5 only on the days that they attend.

6th through 12th grade students would continue to adhere to the hybrid schedule in this scenario.  Parents will receive an automated phone call and an email on Friday, August 21 from the District if this occurs; additional information to follow from the building principals.   With any schedule option change throughout this school year parents will be notified via email and automated phone call.

If Madison County stays with an orange “Warning” designation for two consecutive weeks, this would cause District 7 to transition to remote learning for all students.   This means that if the metrics continue to worsen and do not stay within targeted levels, District 7 will transition to full remote learning as early as Monday, August 31, as a result of being in “Warning” status for two consecutive weeks.

If District 7 shifts to all remote learning, it will stay there until Madison County moves out of “Warning” (back to “Blue”) for two consecutive weeks.

We understand that this decision will create hardships for our parents and students, but we must continue to operate throughout this pandemic with the safety of our students and staff as our first priority.  Please help to stop the spread in our county and do your part to improve our metrics by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

Thank you for your help in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and for your continued patience as we navigate this pandemic.

Dr. Jason Henderson