Important Update from Board President Groody and Superintendent Lea

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D128 Parents/Guardians and Students:

On July 22, 2020, the D128 Board of Education made the decision to begin the school year with remote learning based on the uncertainty surrounding the health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Although the science is still evolving, much has been learned about the virus, how it is spread and how it impacts young children, teens and adults. Over the past few months, the district administration, board of education, faculty and staff have all been working diligently to deliver the best possible remote learning experience for our students as we continue to add details to our planning for our eventual return to the classroom. Our initial goal has focused on delivering the best possible e-learning experience while providing some level of stability to our students. We understand that the current situation is not optimal and students are longing for many of the experiences they have lost as a result of the pandemic situation. Rest assured that it remains our primary commitment to return students to the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so.

Since classes resumed in late August, we have made a lot of progress. Our remote learning today is vastly different from what it was last Spring. Although our focus has been on optimizing our remote learning delivery, we have also made progress with the next phase of our reopening plan. Last week and this week we started bringing groups of students back into our schools, including Special Education students, athletics, student activities. Building principals will share additional details on students returning to campus at the Board meeting on Tuesday evening. We also brought seniors in for the SAT. In addition, other students have been engaged in varied virtual activities. Next week we will bring more students back for select hands-on classes and co- and extracurricular activities. Staff members are working hard to continue making progress in these areas in order to provide opportunities for students to engage with their classmates. 

We continue to make good progress in preparing our facilities and staff to return to school. Several new facilities at both campuses have recently been completed or soon will be completed, and these facilities will assist greatly in our efforts to meet the social distancing requirements necessary to ensure student safety in our buildings. Additionally, D128, LHS and VHHS have prepared facilities, health and safety protocols, and PPE for returning to school, including the purchase and installation of high-tech temperature scanners at both buildings.

We are also evaluating potential options to implement widespread and periodic testing for the COVID-19 virus in order to further mitigate the possible spread of the virus on campus. Although there have been multiple reports on social media that we will not return until a vaccine is available, this is not part of our current strategy and we remain optimistic that this will not be a requirement for a return to in-person learning. 

It is important to recognize that the next phase of reopening will be different than what we left last Spring. We will not return for full in-person learning until the requirements for social distancing are relaxed. Our initial return to in-person learning will require a hybrid model with smaller classroom sizes and the likelihood of both eSchool and asynchronous learning.  Our return will also require strict adherence to our requirements to wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, limit large crowds and exhibit other safe practices both on and off campus. This next phase will continue to be challenging, but with your continued support and the on-going work and commitment of our dedicated faculty and staff we can collectively achieve success. 

Although a specific date for a return to in-person classes for students has not yet been decided, we are closely monitoring a variety of metrics outlined by the Illinois Department of Health and the Lake County Department of Health. The current data for disease prevalence, new case rates, testing turn-around time and hospitalization rates for both Libertyville and Vernon Hills are all trending favorably. The next few weeks will be critical; however, in the absence of significant changes, we are hopeful that we can continue our staged efforts to bring larger groups of students back into our buildings and proceed to implement the next phase. 

The current pandemic situation has been and continues to be a challenging and frustrating time for all of us. We are well aware of sentiment in the community, which is strongly in support of implementing in-person learning. Your voices have been heard. We share your sense of challenge and frustration and be assured we also want to open D128. We continue to be committed to working aggressively to return the students to schools and doing everything possible to ensure they receive the full education you expect at D128.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Pat Groody, President, D128 Board of Education

Dr. Prentiss Lea, Superintendent, D128

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TIMELINE

Monday, September 14th - Board P & P Committee Meeting

Superintendent identified basic framework and components for assessment and discussion for return to in-person learning.

Tuesday, September 29th - Board Meeting

Superintendent will discuss specific framework, components and initial timeline for decision-making and implementation.

Monday, October 5th - Committee of the Whole Meeting

D128 Board, District Leadership Team and Building Principals, Buildings and Grounds, and other district personnel will meet in a dedicated workgroup session to assess, to review status of, and to discuss each relevant framework component to inform decision-making.

Monday, October 12th - Program & Personnel Meeting 

ProjectedBoard final review, final decision-making and implementation timeline to proceed to the next phase.

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FRAMEWORK COMPONENTS

  • Relevant Metrics (CDC, IDPH, Northern Illinois Public Health Departments)
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Contact Tracing
  • Health & Safety:

               --Social Distancing

             --  PPE

              -- Daily Protocols

              -- Cleaning

  • Staffing
  • Technology
  • Schedule Possibilities
  • Feeding Students (Lunch)
  • Impact Bargaining
  • Liability