Important Dates for 2021
Letter from Superintendent Dr. Charles Johns to families
Dear District 225 Families,
I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that your Winter Break was a healthy and restorative one. As we begin to wrap up the first semester and look to the second half of the school year, I want to thank you for your patience and support during this unprecedented year. Our entire school community has faced a lot of unique challenges and uncertainties this fall with grace and conviction.
As we head into 2021, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of important dates:
- Monday, January 4: Adaptive Pause continues and school resumes with remote learning
- Monday, January 4 or Tuesday, January 5: District sends information via email on teacher status of remote or in-person
- Wednesday, January 6: Deadline for survey completion indicating preference for in-person or remote instruction for the January 19 - March 19 time frame (see message sent on December 28)
- Monday, January 11 - Thursday, January 14: Final exams administered remotely
- Thursday, January 14: Notification to families of district plans for either half-day or full-day in-person instruction
- Tuesday, January 19: Second semester begins in either the hybrid (half-day) or full-day model
Planning for January 19 In-Person Instruction
I also want to acknowledge the feedback we are receiving from many parents urging a safe reopening. I assure you that we are planning to resume in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. This will either be half-day (hybrid) or full-day, depending on the survey results and our classroom capacity. Remote instruction will continue to remain an option for all students.
On December 28, an email was sent to each family regarding the Second Semester Learning Plan Survey. We are exploring the possibility of whether full-day attendance may be possible within the current six-foot social distancing requirements. Students and parents will be notified on Thursday, January 14, if in-person learning will be half-day or full-day.
In the meantime, we continue to review the health metrics daily and have seen an improvement in the indicators that moved us to an Adaptive Pause. Here is our webpage dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
Daily health certifications will continue to be required for all students and staff as they enter the buildings. Please remember that these certifications can be done via cell phone prior to coming to school. Face coverings and social distancing will also continue to be required at all times in the buildings.
Students traveling out-of-state must complete a 10-day quarantine period, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, before returning to in-person instruction. Students must return to Illinois by January 9 in order to attend school in-person on January 19. For student athletes who will be coming into the buildings beginning January 4 for one-on-one coaching during Adaptive Pause, please make sure that you follow the 10-day quarantine requirement.
COVID Testing Pilot
As you may know, the Board of Education approved a pilot COVID-19 testing program for students and coaches in extracurricular activities. This program is just one of many mitigation efforts to reduce the possibility of spread of COVID-19 in our school community. The results of the testing pilot are provided on our metrics webpage. The test is a non-diagnostic surveillance test. The pilot has proven very successful, and the District may consider expanding testing to all students attending in-person instruction.
Finally, while initial reports on two vaccines look promising, they may not be available to most of us until later in the spring. I urge you to continue to social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay informed and shrink your social bubbles.
Thank you for your cooperation, support, and patience. On behalf of the Board of Education and administration, I wish you a happy new year.
Schools transition to Adaptive Pause
Glenbrook High School District 225 will be making a transition to a full Adaptive Pause beginning Wednesday, November 18. This means that all classes will move to e-learning beginning this Wednesday. Unless there is a significant improvement in conditions in the short term, this Adaptive Pause will run through Monday, January 18 (the Martin Luther King Day holiday). Students are expected to return to hybrid instruction on Tuesday, January 19, the first day of the second semester. This transition to a full Adaptive Pause will provide a natural quarantine period for staff and students after the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, reducing the probability that the virus will be brought into our schools.
COVID-19 cases have risen at a significant rate and are continuing to grow. Our district’s two primary indicators to inform a move to an Adaptive Pause have been at the “Substantial” level for two consecutive weeks in the two geographic areas that we closely monitor, North Cook County and Glenbrook zip codes. In addition, the Chief Medical Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has told our township superintendents that schools should “strongly consider remote learning given the presence of sustained community transmission.” As we head into the Thanksgiving and winter holiday season, we know that people’s travel and groupings will likely exacerbate current risk levels. Both the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the CCDPH have asked the public to limit unnecessary travel.
A review of options for ongoing extracurricular and athletic programs is underway and will be shared soon. This review includes a careful evaluation of IDPH, CCDPH, and Illinois High School Association recommendations, along with the current community conditions and holiday considerations noted above. Each program is different and is being assessed on a case-by-case basis.
While the decision to pause in-person instruction is difficult, we believe that it will create a safer environment for all and help put us in position to return to the hybrid model in the second semester. Please continue to do your part by practicing the 3 Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands frequently.
We know that students may have questions specific to their own sports, activities, or clubs. They will receive detailed information about any changes in a separate email from their coaches or sponsors.
District advances to Step 3 of the Fall Learning Plan
Students return to in-person learning on a hybrid schedule starting October 5
At the special meeting on September 21, the Board of Education approved the implementation of a two-week phased-in approach to a hybrid model beginning on October 5. This represents Step 3 of the Fall Learning Plan for 2020-21, where students will return to in-person learning on a hybrid schedule. The approach is expected to phase in students by grade level and will reach full implementation for all students by October 20.
“It is our responsibility to provide the best experience for our students, and we know that means a return to in-person instruction as soon as possible,” said Board President Bruce Doughty. “After careful thought and consideration for the safety of our students and staff, along with balancing the academic and social/emotional needs of our school community, we strongly believe that forward movement is the best course of action.”
The Board of Education reviewed various health metrics in order to determine moving from Step 2 to Step 3, including the number of new cases per 100,000, test positivity rates, increased number of cases, and specifically youth cases. In addition, the Board considered operational metrics including sufficient access/inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE), the ability to maintain 6 foot social distancing in learning spaces, and necessary personnel. The district will comply with public health guidelines including requiring students and staff to wear face masks, maintain social distancing standards and participate in daily health screenings, for example, as it moves into a return to in-person learning.
“We are excited to welcome back our entire student population and have been working each day since the start of the pandemic to plan for this opportunity to reunite on our campuses,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Johns. “There are still many challenges we can expect to encounter; however, we believe that beginning the year remotely provided a strong foundation to move into hybrid learning.”
In the coming week, additional information about the implementation of hybrid learning will be emailed directly to students and parents. In addition, should a family determine that their student would benefit from remaining in an E-Learning environment, the school will accommodate this preference.
For more information, please continue to visit the district webpage dedicated to the reopening of school, which includes the current Learning and Operations Plan and outlines the different phases of reopening.
Update from the School Reopening Advisory Committee
District moves into Step 2 of the plan
The School Reopening Advisory Committee composed of students, parents, staff, administrators, an infectious disease specialist, and one Board member meet on a scheduled basis to discuss the current Learning and Operations Plan and consider adjustments to the school environment, including movement through the different phases of reopening. The committee will provide four scheduled updates throughout the fall, August 28, September 25, October 9 and 23. Additional meetings and updates may be added, depending on the progress of COVID-19 and the learning plan.
Date of Meeting: August 17, 2020
Summary of Discussion:
In its inaugural meeting, the School Reopening Advisory Committee made introductions, established shared expectations, and reviewed the 2020-21 Learning and Operations Plan.
The committee reviewed the current rates of building utilization by staff and students. Included in the discussion was a review of the impact of quarantines on the summer athletic programs. Additionally, a review of the freshman orientation activities was conducted, including concerns about social distancing enforcement as students passed from one area to another. A review of current state data of new cases and the positivity rates were also included in the discussion.
At this time, two of the seven indicators used to assess readiness to move between phases meet the established targets, while five remain in progress.
One of the indicators centers around creating a stable and consistent learning environment that upholds the district’s instructional integrity. By gradually adding students, we will be able to determine if there is an increase in transmission, which will inform whether additional students can be brought into the schools. It is crucial to avoid a series of opening and closing of the school as transmission levels ebb and flow. Having stable and consistent instruction with a certified teacher, even in an E-Learning environment, is preferred to any alternatives.
Beginning on September 8, the district will move into Step 2 of the plan. This phase will bring in several hundred students, divided up into cohorts, meeting in the morning or afternoon, and on alternating days. Students, with and without disabilities, who have identified support needs in the areas of attendance, grades, interventions, social/emotional wellbeing, medical, or academic supports may be eligible to attend campus. Students with any of these needs are referred to their respective Student Services team for consideration. The Student Services teams meet weekly to review referrals and data points to compile a list of eligible students. Through this process, additional students can be added in Step 2 as needs and opportunities are identified. Similarly, the North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) is committed to providing in-person instruction for students in the Teaching Life Skills (TLS) program, initially bringing in small groups of students, half days in the morning or afternoon, two days per week. Bus transportation services will be provided to all students that have purchased a bus pass. Routes will be operated in the morning, mid-day, and in the afternoon. Information regarding bus transportation will be announced by the end of next week.
With this announcement, the Student Services teams from each school will begin developing a list of eligible students based on identified needs. School counselors or other members of the Student Services teams will contact the students and the families of those selected to provide further details.
Next Committee Meetings:
August 31, September 14, and 21
For more information, please continue to visit our webpage dedicated to the reopening of school.
DISTRICT 225 TO START FALL SEMESTER WITH E-LEARNING UNDER FOUR-STEP PLAN APPROVED BY THE BOARD
This evening, the Glenbrook District 225 Board of Education approved the Learning and Operational Plan that the District’s administrative team shared with parents on Friday. Under the plan, all District 225 students and staff will begin the 2020-2021 school year as scheduled on Wednesday, August 19, under an E-Learning format.
STEP 1: E-LEARNING BEGINS AUGUST 19
The E-Learning experience will be significantly different from what took place in the spring, when state mandates limited our ability to deliver a high-quality E-Learning experience. Under the 2020-2021 E-Learning model:
● Students will follow a structured schedule with required synchronous learning experiences as part of every class as new content is introduced by teachers. Additional tiers of academic services will be available as needed to support student success and well-being.
● Assessments will be delivered, due dates will be enforced, grades will count, and attendance will be taken.
● Students will be expected to activate their camera when participating in synchronous E-Learning.
● Athletics, extracurricular and co-curricular activities will be available through a combination of on-campus and virtual participation opportunities based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and applicable Illinois High School Association (IHSA) requirements.
● We will implement a social-emotional learning curriculum, integrated into PE and Health courses, that will address essential topics, such as creating a collective community; building resilience; coping with anxiety, fears, and stress; and accessing resources and supports.
We know there are many questions about returning to school, including how students will pick up textbooks, schedules and supplies. Our administrative team is currently working to address these items and will communicate via email with additional instructions in the coming week.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please visit the District’s website to view the District’s four-step plan to bring students back to in-person learning when it is safe and appropriate to do so, as well as responses to some Frequently Asked Questions. We will continue to communicate important information directly to parents, staff and students through email and will regularly update this FAQ document. If you have questions or comments, please send them to email@example.com
Like you, we are proud of our schools and of the well-rounded experience offered to each student. While it is going to look drastically different from what we all know, we are confident in our ability to start strong on August 19 and to deliver high-quality, meaningful and engaging academic and extracurricular experiences for all students throughout the 2020-2021 school year. We are committed to excellence in the 4 A’s: Academics, Athletics, Activities, and the Arts.
On behalf of the entire team at Glenbrook High School District 225, as always, we thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to seeing our students this fall.
District 225 Administration