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Transitions to In-Person Instruction

March 19, 2021

Dear School District 189 Families, Students and Staff,

It has been one year since our school district transitioned to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This has been a very challenging year for everyone, but particularly for our students.  We were glad to provide all our Kindergarten through grade 12 students with Chromebooks and in many cases internet hotspots to support their success in remote learning.  We have partnered with parents and community centers by providing tech support, Grab and Go student meals, mental health supports and more.  Even with these resources, the past year has been difficult.  

I thank you for your continued flexibility and support as we work together for our youth.  I seek your ongoing partnership as we proceed into the next phase of learning recovery.

 

Return to In-School Instruction for Grades 6-12 

The return to in-person instruction is going well for students in preschool through grade 5.  We plan to resume in-person instruction (full-day, five days per week) for some students in grades 6-12 beginning Wednesday, April 7, 2021.  Remote learning will continue for those students who opted for remote instruction.  Students who are registered for in-person instruction will receive detailed communication from their schools regarding the start and end times for the day. 

Due to COVID-19 precautions, we are limiting the number of students in each campus.  Families who are currently identified for remote learning may opt to add their student to a wait list for in-person instruction.  Please contact your school.  All students must be in full medical compliance before being authorized to return to school in-person.

 

Extended School Year

I strongly advocate extending the current school year for all preschool through grade 12 students through June 30, 2021.  This recommendation does not come lightly, but is based on the examination of multiple data points.  We have many students who are in jeopardy of not graduating or advancing to the next grade level without extended academic support.  We want to provide equitable educational opportunities for our students to advance to the next grade level, graduate on time, recover loss of learning, and continue personal academic growth.  The extended time will allow younger students to extend learning and fill learning gaps that resulted from this year’s shorter school days. 

I am notifying all stakeholders that it is in the best interest of our students for the school year to be extended.  This significant calendar change requires agreement from the teachers' Union, approval from the Board of Education and the support of our parents and community.  Therefore, it is not yet certain.  Additionally, we know many high school students work jobs to support themselves and their families.  Students will not be available to work during the day as this calendar extension requires them to attend school.  I hope I can count on your support to extend the school year through June 30, 2021.  I anticipate advocating for an extended school year in summers 2022 and 2023 as well.

 

High School Graduation

If the extended school year is approved, the graduation event for the East St. Louis Senior High School Class of 2021 will be Thursday, July 1st.  We anticipate holding the ceremony at the Clyde C. Jordan Stadium with a limited number of guests per graduate.  These plans are subject to change depending on Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidance and local COVID-19 conditions.  Strict adherence to safety protocols will be enforced.

 

State-Mandated Testing

All students in grades 3-8, including those in remote learning, are required to return to school for in-person testing for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR).  Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 will participate in the Illinois Science Assessment.  All high school juniors are mandated to take the in-person SAT exam on April 13, 2021.  Schools will directly communicate with students and parents regarding the testing dates, safety protocols and more.  It is critical for us to gauge grade-level mastery and students’ preparation to advance to the next grade level.  State testing is one of our primary methods for collecting this information and it is essential that all of our students participate.

 

While this has been a challenging year and we are not out of the woods yet, we are transitioning to better times.  As I have reflected on the past year, I know that challenging times often illuminate the true character of an individual or a community.  This pandemic has clarified that our community is incredible, resilient and strong.  I thank our parents, staff and wider community for working together to support our youth.  I hope we can continue to count on you as we look to extend the school year and more.

 

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

____________________________________________________

 

March 11, 2021

Dear School District 189 Parents and Guardians,

Yesterday, we eagerly welcomed back more than 800 students for in-personal learning. These students, from preschool through grade 5, were also excited to return to their schools, teachers, and classmates.  Other students are continuing to receive educational services through remote learning. 

We are pleased to report that day one of in-person instruction went very smoothly overall.  The safety protocols we have put into place are providing a safe environment for staff and students.  Our staff are working hard to make adjustments as necessary to improve transitions into the building and dismissal.  Thank you for your cooperation and patience. 

We are also planning for the return to in-person instruction for students in grades 6-12 that could begin as soon as Tuesday, April 6, 2021.  More details will follow.

____________________________ 

Here is key information for parents to know as their students transition back to in-person learning:

School District 189 strictly adheres to guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and from the local East Side Health District in order to support the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community.  We will exclude students from returning to school in person if they are exhibiting COVID-like symptoms.

The Illinois Department of Public Health school exclusion guidance (revised March 15, 2021) instructs schools to: 

“Send home or deny entry...if ANY of the following symptoms are present: Fever (100.4 degrees F or higher, new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste or smell, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches from unknown cause.  

Medical Evaluation and Testing are Strongly Recommended for ALL Persons with COVID-Like Symptoms.”


During the required quarantine at home, we are pleased to continue providing your child with educational services through remote instruction.

COVID 19 Decision Tree   

Page two Covid-19 Decision Tree

Uniforms

Our students always look their best when they come to school and we know parents take pride in dressing students in the required uniform.  Until further notice, we will not require school uniforms.  We understand that during the pandemic, it has been difficult for families to acquire school uniforms.  We will continue to look for solutions to support our families in this effort. 

Students who have been registered for in-person learning should come to school, whether they have a uniform or not.  Please refer to the Uniform/Dresscode section of the Student Code of Conduct (pages 22-23) here https://www.estl189.com/domain/101 for details.  Examples of acceptable options include spirit wear, unripped jeans and other bottoms, shirts without offensive images or language, and tennis shoes.

Technology for Students Returning to School

Students returning to school are asked to bring their Chromebooks and hotspots back to their homeroom teacher.  These devices will be cleaned and be made available for daily in-person learning.  Students’ success and the success of our state testing are dependent upon access to Chromebooks.  For now, all devices will remain at school. 

Medical Compliance

All students returning for in-person instruction must be in full medical compliance.  This includes physicals and immunizations.  If you are uncertain if your child is medically compliant, please ask to speak with the school nurse where your child attends. 

COVID-19 & Safety Protocols

Please be assured that School District 189 adheres to current public health guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education for the safe return to in-person instruction.  Our district will continue conducting temperature checks on all individuals who enter school buildings.  Students who returned to school yesterday did a fabulous job keeping their masks on in the proper manner, following social distancing guidelines, and practicing safe handwashing and sanitizing procedures.

It is imperative that parents keep students at home if they feel ill.  Do not send your child to school if they have a fever, or one or more flu or COVID-like symptoms.  In the event that your child needs to stay home, please contact your child’s school for remote-learning options or to excuse them from schoolwork.  If directed by the local health department, your child may need to return to remote learning for a specified time.  Parents will be notified in those cases.

State Testing

Please be aware that the Illinois State Board of Education expects all students, even those in remote learning, to participate in state-mandated testing.  At this time, School District 189 expects all students to return in-person for state testing beginning in April.  Further details will be communicated in the near future.

I am very grateful to each of our parents and students as we make the transition back to in-person instruction.  Our families have been incredibly supportive and have carefully followed instructions provided by schools.  Thank you for your partnership as we work together to safely educate our students.

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

_________________

School Uniforms: 

Our students always look their best when they come to school and we know parents take pride in dressing students in the required uniform.  Until further notice, we will not require school uniforms.  We understand that during the pandemic, it has been difficult for families to acquire school uniforms.  We will continue to look for solutions to support our families in this effort. 

Students who have been registered for in-person learning should come to school, whether they have a uniform or not.  Please refer to the Uniform/Dresscode section of the Student Code of Conduct (pages 22-23) here https://www.estl189.com/domain/101 for details.  Examples of acceptable options include spirit wear, unripped jeans and other bottoms, shirts without offensive images or language, and tennis shoes.

Here are the uniform details for those wishing to send their student in uniform:

Elementary and Middle School students:
• Navy Blue, Khaki, or Black slacks, skirts, jumpers or
shorts; White, Black, Navy Blue, or Powder Blue shirts/blouses,
tucked in, and any color close toed shoes (no high heels, sling
backs, slippers, or flip flops).
• Jackets, hoodies, and sweaters worn in class must be solid uniform
color (black, blue, or white). Hoods MUST not be worn in the building.

All High School Students at East St. Louis Senior High School (Excludes WYAC): Based on input from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, high school students will be allowed to wear hoodies in the same color as their grade level. Jackets are not allowed. Hoods MUST NOT be worn in the building. Uniform shirt or hoodie colors are as follows and MUST BE a solid color and can include a brand or school logo.:

• Freshman | Black Only

• Sophomores | Gray Only

• Juniors | Royal Blue Only

• Seniors | Orange Only

 Update Important Student Information in Skyward

 

Click HERE to see the plan in detail.


School District 189 Return to Learn Plan

Details for the School District 189 RETURN TO LEARN PLAN are provided here. Please take time to carefully review and familiarize yourself with the remote learning, hybrid and traditional models.


School Calendar

School begins for all students on August 17, 2020 with Remote Learning at least through October 16, 2020. Please review the 2020-2021 School District 189 Calendar for key information about when school is in session or on break. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to FAQ will be updated here: FAQ Updated 8.17.2020


Remote Learning Compact

Students, parents and teachers all have a key role in supporting successful remote learning. Please see the Remote Learner COMPACT here.


February 17, 2021

School District 189 will soon bring some students back to school for in-person learning.  Please review the revised Return to In-Person Learning Schedule, which includes changes in the dates for Instructional Planning Days. Please note the start date for in-person instruction changed from March 2 to March 10, 2021 to allow our staff the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Thursday, February 25 and Friday, February 26, 2021 - Regular student remote learning days. These dates were previously noted as Instructional Planning Days. Students WILL be in remote learning on these days.
  • Monday, March 1, 2021 - Holiday. No student attendance day. No Grab and Go Meals served. 
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - No student attendance day; ISBE-issued Instructional Planning Day.  
  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - School resumes in-person, full-day, five days per week for students in grades preschool through 5th grade for student families who selected in-person learning. (Remote learning will continue for those students who opted for remote instruction.) Students who are registered for in-person instruction will receive detailed communication from their schools regarding the start and end times for the day, due to COVID-19 precautions.
  • TBD - In-person learning for students in grades 6-12 will be scheduled after assessing the transition to in-person learning for preschool-grade 5 students.
  • March 15 - May 14, 2021 Testing Window - ISBE requires in-person assessment testing for students in Kindergarten and grades 3-12 (see ISBE requirements, here: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Assessment-Guidance-2020-21.pdf).  More details will be shared in the future regarding the testing schedule.  All students, regardless if their family opted for remote learning, are required by the state to come in-person for state assessments when scheduled.  All certified staff may be required to assist with testing. 
  • Friday, March 19, 2021 - Half day of student attendance (morning) with afternoon virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences.

We are committed to implementing necessary measures that help ensure the safety of all students and staff when we return to in-person learning.  We will accommodate the number of in-person students that we can safely serve with reduced class sizes and social distancing.  Each campus has temperature scanners, social distancing markers, appropriate cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to support healthy school and work environments.  Upon return to school, students will remain grouped with their cohort and will eat meals within their classroom.  All students and staff will be required to wear face masks.  Protocols are in place at each campus for COVID-19 contact tracing in collaboration with East Side Health District and our Human Resources Department. 

Thank you for your patience, persistence and understanding during these challenging times.  Our students have been in remote learning for nearly a full year. We truly look forward to providing in-person instruction for students in grades preschool through 5th grade beginning March 10, 2021.  We plan to add opportunities for in-person instruction for students in grades 6-12 in the near future.  Please stay tuned for more information and details from your school campuses.  We are committed to safety and hope all in our community will continue to practice CDC-recommended guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent


October 5, 2020

 

Dear School District 189 Parents, Students and Staff,

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and is not over.  However, I am proud of the resourcefulness and resilience of our students, parents, staff, and community partners as they have rallied through this adversity.  Our students have adjusted well to remote learning and are consistently engaged in learning activities.  

 

We have continued to closely monitor COVID-19 positive case data for our serving zip codes and have consulted with the East Side Health District.  Additionally, we have received feedback from staff, student groups and parents about the benefits and challenges of various learning models.  Based on the following data and our concern for the health and safety of our students, staff and community, School District 189 will remain in Remote Learning to begin the second quarter (October 19, 2020).  As community conditions improve, we will consider shifting to a hybrid or full in-school model.

COVID-19 and Health Data

  • There has been a recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases in St. Clair County.  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) elevated the entire county to Orange on October 2nd, indicating there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risks. 

  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases in our serving zip codes continues to increase.  Approximately 30% of St. Clair County cases are within our serving zip codes.  

  • When looking at our serving zip codes in both St. Clair and Madison counties, our applied ratio is 128 cases per 100,000.  This is 2.6 times higher than the Governor’s recommended infection rate threshold of 50 per 100,000. 

  • School District 189 has experienced 22 positive COVID-19 cases among staff since July 1, 2020.  When partner service staff are included, such as Chartwells and Illinois Bus Company, the total number of positive COVID-19 staff cases since July 1st is 26.

  • Last week, the East Side Health District reported to us that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in their serving jurisdiction was increasing about 15 new cases per day.  This weekend, there were an additional 27 new cases reported. They are currently following 150 active cases across their jurisdiction, which does not include cases currently under quarantine.  Positive cases have been increasing over the last two weeks.

  • With the upcoming cold and flu season, it will be hard to distinguish between cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms.  The East Side Health District has cautioned that it will be difficult to contain and differentiate individuals with these varying diagnoses and that contact tracing will also be more challenging.

  • Experts warn of an expected surge of COVID-19 cases in the winter months ahead.

  • The Federal Government is anticipated to send rapid COVID-19 testing resources (15 minutes to get results) to assist with the reopening of schools.  Based on the data in our area, it would be highly beneficial to have COVID-19 rapid test kits available prior to students returning to school.

  • Preliminary immunization data for SY2021 indicates 50% or more of the K, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade students are out of medical compliance.  This is due, in part, to limited healthcare resources available to our families.  School-based health care clinics are closed due to COVID.  These health care providers feel it is unsafe for their workers.

  • Currently, 99 teachers are working remotely due to elevated health risks and/or family/child care obligations. This accounts for 26% of our teaching population.  Some work around their children’s school schedules.

Our teachers and parents report improvements in remote learning engagement and instruction from Spring 2020 to Fall 2020.  Additionally, teacher training over the summer and through the first weeks of the Fall has led to School District 189 teachers providing longer direct instruction and face-to-face virtual interaction which is now exceeding the minimum 2.5 hours of synchronous instruction recommended by the Illinois State Board of Education.  I am deeply grateful for the great work our teachers, students and parents are doing together to make remote learning successful.

 

Based on recent parent and staff survey feedback as well as discussions with students, parents and teachers, we will make a few adjustments to improve remote learning at the start of the second quarter.  School District 189 remains fully committed to providing high-quality instruction to our students and to ensuring the safety of our students and staff.  Considering the data as well as the health and safety of our teaching and learning community, the most responsible decision at this time is to remain in Remote Learning. Thank you for your flexibility, patience and perseverance during these unprecedented times.

 

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver

 


 

August 12, 2020

Dear School District 189 Families,

School will begin Monday, August 17, 2020, with REMOTE LEARNING for all students. Due to high numbers of COVID-19 positive cases within the community, Remote Learning will continue at least through Friday, October 16, 2020, (the first quarter) to support the health and safety of all.

It is important for our school district to have updated contact information for all families. Returning families can register for school and update contact information by logging into the parent Skyward account at https://bit.ly/2ZY4s8U or on our website, http://www.estl189.com/.  Our website also has a great tutorial to help you with the registration process: https://bit.ly/2XV6vc8. If you need further assistance, please call the Family and Community Engagement Center at 618-646-3130.

Information about NEW student enrollment as well as PRESCHOOL registration, can be found on our website.  Please also check the school district website for other Back to School details, including our Frequently Asked Questions, https://bit.ly/2F9OnET which are updated periodically.  To submit questions, please email questions@estl189.com  We remain committed to providing Grab and Go meals for enrolled students Monday-Friday. Please contact your school or refer to our website for details.

Schools have been directly reaching out to families about Back to School details, including first day activities and opportunities for Chromebook and other resource distribution.  During Remote Learning, students should have paper or notebooks and pencils available to them at home.  Students in grades 6-12 should also have a highlighter.  If families need support with these resources, please contact your school office.  Any student in need of a Chromebook or hotspot for internet connection should reach out to their school principal to make arrangements for pickup.  Students do not need to be in school uniform during remote learning, however, students are required to dress in appropriate attire that does not distract from the learning environment.

The Illinois State Board of Education requires school districts to follow more structured and stringent guidelines for remote learning this fall.  You can review details about our Return to Learn Plan, here: https://bit.ly/2PMIK1K  The end of the Return to Learn Plan includes the School/Family/Student Compact detailing remote learning roles and expectations.  Students are required to be in virtual attendance and engaged in learning activities daily with their teachers from 9:00am-2:30pm. The following describes the importance of attending online sessions everyday:

  • Grades will be taken in the standard format; all assignments will be counted. 
  • Attendance will be taken daily and does count towards student daily average attendance. 
  • Any absences must be accompanied by a parent letter/call or doctor’s statement. 
  • Chronic absenteeism is not allowed and will lead to a referral to the Regional Truancy Review Board. 

 

I can assure you that our staff is working hard to:

  1. Provide a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment for district leaders, teachers, staff, students, and families. 
  2. Ensure all students have daily opportunities to continue learning that focuses on critical Illinois Learning Standards. 
  3. Minimize instructional loss while maximizing resources available to students and teachers by aligning during and after-school activities to support specific strategies to address deficiencies in learning.
  4. Provide students and families with routines, structures and supports to meet academic and social-emotional needs. 

Please know, the heartfelt decision to begin the school year in remote learning was driven by the alarming, increasing COVID-19 cases in the zip codes we serve and careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, staff and community.  We are in frequent communication with the local health department to ensure we have the best health and safety guidance.  We hope each of you will take appropriate precautions to remain safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region.  Remember to practice social distancing (stay 6 feet away from anyone you do not live with), wear a mask when outside your home and wash hands frequently.

Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and commitment as we begin the school year during these unprecedented times.  We look forward to connecting with our students and providing them with the high quality education they deserve.

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

_______________ 

August 12, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) 

The new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides qualified employees with paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave specific to COVID-19.  This includes when the employee is subject to Federal, State or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19.

These benefits are only provided to staff who have been employed for at least 30 days. You may view the full Act here to learn the limitations and allowances of the Act: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

A. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com.

B. If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), you are to immediately notify your supervisor and provide appropriate documentation to the Human Resources department.You are required to quarantine for 14 days total after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.

    • During the quarantine period applicable FFCRA days (maximum two weeks, up to 80 hours) or employee sick leave will be used. You may be eligible for temporary Remote Work Assignment during this time. Contact your supervisor for an application for Remote Work Assignment if you want to continue to work while in quarantine and not wish to use FFCRA or sick leave days. 

    • If you opt to take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative test result, you must continue to quarantine for a total of 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. 

    • If you receive a positive result, FFCRA days (maximum two weeks, up to 80 hours) or sick leave days must be used. You cannot report back to work until written documentation is provided from a medical professional or testing facility verifying a negative COVID-19 test result.

    • Please note: violations of the social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines while in the workplace are subject to disciplinary action. We strongly encourage you to practice these safety guidelines outside of the workplace as well, in order to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spread in our community. 

C. If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor and sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com of the status. You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the positive test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver. Follow the steps noted in section B above. 

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of the FFCRA Act.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. 

Local Testing Centers

There are a number of COVID-19 testing centers across St. Clair County and the region. Please check with East Side Health District or St. Clair County Health Department for testing sites or contact your medical provider for testing locations.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-  Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-  Adhere to social distancing guidelines

-  Wash hands frequently

- Cover coughs or sneezes

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to other safety protocols.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Additional Safety Guidelines

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

- Limit your exposure to large groups of people

- Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

- Monitor your health daily

- Stay home when you are sick

- Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

 _____________________

 

August 6, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

We are excited for the start of our new year focused on Excellence in Action.  Even though it will look very different from any school year before, I am confident we will deliver high quality education and services to our students.

Education, like other fields, must adapt to ever fluid and changing conditions due to the pandemic. We must find a delicate balance between ensuring the health and safety of students, staff and community and advancing the academic and social emotional development of our students. This year will require understanding, patience, creativity and flexibility from each of us.  Administration, teachers and support staff have worked hundreds of hours preparing a variety of educational scenarios and health/safety protocols for the upcoming school year.  Many of you have invested your time and energy to prepare for this school year. Yet there is still much to be done. I am confident through collaboration and teamwork, we will meet the challenges before us.

Managing Expectations

The start of the new year is quickly approaching, so I want to make sure that our team is informed about what to expect in the weeks ahead.  As I shared on July 24, 2020, we have spent time this summer building an instructional system for the successful launch of the year.  Campus principals will be moving forward with the implementation of these plans. You can expect to hear more information about professional development, daily schedules and other school-related matters directly from your supervisor or principal. Together, we will continue to prepare for remote learning.  COVID-19 conditions in the ZIP codes we serve will be the driving factor that determines when we transition from remote learning to the hybrid learning model and, eventually, the traditional school day.

Teachers will deliver their daily online instruction from classrooms, with support from technology staff, administrators, aides, SEL staff and others.  No more than one or two adults will be in a classroom at any given time.  No staff will be in a location where physical distancing guidelines are compromised.  We are keeping the health and well-being of all staff at the forefront of all we do, and all precautions will be in place to help mitigate the spread of illness.

Ensuring Health and Safety for All

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, they are directed to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH, and ISBE guidelines for safety as well as the following School District 189 procedures:

  1. Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)
  2. Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 feet distance from others)
  3. Wash hands frequently
  4. Take daily temperature of staff, students or visitors prior to entry into the building
  5. Self-monitor your health and report serious and/or prolonged COVID symptoms to your supervisor as appropriate
  6. Cover coughs and sneezes
  7. Use PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer stations, gloves, etc. as needed (staff may elect to use district-approved personal PPE or district-provided PPE)
  8. Attend district-provided virtual trainings on safety procedures related to COVID-19 and adhere to the training guidance at all times
  9. When possible, conduct all staff meetings by phone or virtual meetings
  10. When in-person with another individual, maintain at least 6-feet distance
  11. In-person consultation must be a last resort, very brief and with social distancing (6-feet distance and wearing masks)
  12. No group gatherings (school offices, break rooms, hallways, lounges, etc.)
  13. Staff are still expected to clock in and out with TimeClock Plus
  14. All staff are responsible for reading and adhering to all district communication (emails, robocalls, website, etc.)

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com.
  • If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), we encourage you to get tested for COVID-19.
  • If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, self-quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor, sharla.randolph@estl189.com and latoya.greenwood@estl189.com of the status.  You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver.

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  I encourage you to read the details for FFCRA, found here: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements.

Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

All staff members will be required to complete the COVID-19 Active Screening Questionnaire (provided by the East Side Health District) and receive district-issued health and safety guidelines training.  Daily monitoring and temperature checks will be conducted at each work site. 

School District 189 administration has been in frequent, ongoing communication with the East Side Health District and we will continue this partnership.  When employees report to our school district that they have tested positive, the following measures are taken:

  • Fourteen day quarantine and report back to work with a negative test result
  • Interview the employee to explore possible exposure to other employees
  • Send written, courtesy communication to all employees who were in the same facility as the person who tested positive
  • Identify persons who are at high-risk or low-risk based on guidelines from the health department
  • Follow appropriate HIPAA guidelines by not disclosing the name of a known staff member or affiliate with a known or rumored positive COVID-19 diagnosis

Please remember that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is reduced.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high-risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Community Safety Guidelines

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

-           Limit your exposure to large groups of people

-           Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

-           Monitor your health daily

-          Stay home when you are sick

-          Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

A complete list of our safety procedures are included in our Back to School Health Safety Procedures.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/137Y98dBJ-ToI1q_6aEiMws5zp7BSSBrA9sebiLm4npQ/edit

Schedule for Reopening of District Campuses and Facilities

When reporting back to work, all staff are expected to go directly to their office, room or other designated workspace and may sign in to TimeClock Plus on their personal work computer or at the building TimeClock Plus station.  Twelve-month employees are to report back to in-person work beginning Monday, August 10, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.  Other staff are to report back to work per your assigned in-person schedule, with all returning by 8:30 am on Wednesday, August 12.

Professional development for all staff will be conducted this year remotely.  Security guards, clerks, custodians, bus monitors, warehouse and maintenance staff will participate in professional development on August 11.  All other staff, please ensure you are fully attentive for the Teacher’s Institute on Wednesday, August 12, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.  The detailed professional development schedule will be provided to staff by Monday, August 10th.  Please allow time to get your temperature checked, enter your appropriate room and login to the computer no later than your PD start time. 

RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

Details for the School District 189 Return to Learn Plan are provided in a separate document. Please take careful time to review and familiarize yourself with the remote learning, hybrid and traditional models.

RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

DAILY STAFF WORK SCHEDULES

The daily staff schedules for each department or school staff team can be found on the link below.  Please also see your supervisor for your specific schedule and work duties.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ooH1oK0GE0t6_I4XJnDpOokNLWyFnaXePYFKBnhwofM/edit

Flexibility in Assigned Job Duties

Due to the pandemic, East St. Louis School District 189 is transforming operations and reimagining the way we educate our students.  We value all members of our team, and our goal is that all active employees continue to have a role in the operations of our District, though their job duties may change due to the delayed return to face-to-face learning.

Some employees in East St. Louis School District 189 will be expected to perform duties that may be outside their job description during remote learning and/or hybrid learning periods.  Temporary roles may be assigned based on organizational needs to allow the employee to remain actively employed, thus receiving their regular pay and benefits. These roles will help support district operations during this pandemic. Supervisors will be communicating with staff regarding their schedule and duties.

SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

When a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) requires in-person instruction, arrangements will be made to implement the IEP.

SAT TESTING UPDATE

Please see the SAT updated information for our seniors who were not able to test last spring: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Fall-2020-ISBE-Provided-SAT-Essay.pdf

In closing, I want to thank you for your continued support and all you do to advance Excellence in Action for our East St. Louis School District 189  students.  We have strong plans, systems and protocols in place for the launch of the year.  We are primed to continue offering a high quality educational experience for our students.

Expect excellence,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

___________________________

August 1, 2020

Dear School District 189 Families,
 
School will begin Monday, August 17, 2020 with REMOTE LEARNING for all students. Due to high numbers of COVID-19 positive cases within the community, Remote Learning will continue at least through Friday, October 16, 2020 (the first quarter) to support the safety of all.
 
In the upcoming weeks, more information will be provided to you about Back to School details. It is important for our school district to have updated contact information on all families. Returning families can register for school and update contact information by logging into the parent Skyward account at https://bit.ly/2ZY4s8U or on our website, www.estl189.com. 
 
Information about NEW student enrollment as well as PRESCHOOL registration, can be found on our website. Please also check the school district website for other Back to School details, including our Q&A, which will be updated frequently. To submit questions, please email questions@estl189.com.
 
During Remote Learning, students should have paper or notebooks and pencils available to them at home. Students in grades 6-12 should also have a highlighter. If families need support with these resources, please contact your school office. Chromebooks will be provided to all students in grades K-12 who did not receive one in the spring. 
 
Please know, the heartfelt decision to begin the school year in remote learning was driven by the alarming, increasing COVID-19 cases in the zip codes we serve and careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, staff and community. We hope each of you will take appropriate precautions to remain safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region. Remember to practice social distancing, wear a mask when outside your home and wash hands frequently.
 
Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and commitment as we begin the school year during these unprecedented times.  We look forward to connecting with our students and providing them with the high quality education they deserve.
__________________________

July 24, 2020

The Board of Education met today and unanimously approved the Back to School Plan
 
The Back to School Plan notes that school will begin for students on Monday, August 17, 2020, with REMOTE LEARNING at least through Friday, October 16, 2020 (the first quarter.) Staff are to report in-person during the first quarter and to practice appropriate social distancing and safety protocols. The Cabinet will work with Local 1220 and Local 382 to develop daily schedules that will ensure social distancing and other safety practices. It is important to have staff onsite to facilitate the opportunity for teachers, administrators and support staff to collaborate with one another. This will also ensure that teachers have more access to instructional materials as well as better curriculum and technology resources and supports. Additionally, student login issues can be resolved in a more timely manner. These measures will enhance student achievement and minimize student learning loss during the remote learning period.
 
The Back to School Plan also includes details about the HYBRID model that we plan to transition to when it is safe to do so. We look forward to resuming the TRADITIONAL school model with full in-school learning as soon as safely possible. Please know that the school district may need to transition between these 3 learning models depending on changing conditions. School district administration will continue to monitor community and staff COVID-19 cases at least on a weekly basis. This data will be used to make decisions about how to proceed beyond October 16, 2020.

Attached are 5 documents regarding Back to School information, including
  - Back to School Plan
  - Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Updated 8.17.2020
  - COVID updates
  - Back to School Visual
If you have questions, comments or concerns, please submit them to questions@estl189.com.
 
Please know, the heartfelt decision to begin the school year in remote learning was driven by the alarming, increasing COVID-19 cases in the zip codes we serve and careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, staff and community. We hope each of you will take appropriate precautions to remain safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region. Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and commitment as we begin the school year during these unprecedented times.  As we continue to focus on empowering excellence, we will provide our students with the high quality education they deserve.
 
Expect excellence,
Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

_______________

July 24, 2020

Dear All Staff,
 
The Board of Education met today and unanimously approved the Back to School Plan
 
The Back to School Plan notes that school will begin for students on Monday, August 17, 2020, with REMOTE LEARNING at least through Friday, October 16, 2020 (the first quarter). Staff are to report in-person during the first quarter and to practice appropriate social distancing and safety protocols. The Cabinet will work with Local 1220 and Local 382 to develop daily schedules that will ensure social distancing and other safety practices. It is important to have staff onsite to facilitate the opportunity for teachers, administrators and support staff to collaborate with one another. This will also ensure that teachers have more access to instructional materials as well as better curriculum and technology resources and supports. Additionally, student login issues can be resolved in a more timely manner. These measures will enhance student achievement and minimize student learning loss during the remote learning period.
 
The Back to School Plan also includes details about the HYBRID model that we plan to transition to when it is safe to do so. We look forward to resuming the TRADITIONAL school model with full in-school learning as soon as safely possible. Please know that the school district may need to transition between these 3 learning models depending on changing conditions. School district administration will continue to monitor community and staff COVID-19 cases at least on a weekly basis. This data will be used to make decisions about how to proceed beyond October 16, 2020.

Attached are 4 documents regarding Back to School information, including
  - Back to School Plan
  - Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Updated 8.17.2020
  - COVID updates
  - Back to School Visual
If you have questions, comments or concerns, please submit them to questions@estl189.com.
 
Please know, the heartfelt decision to begin the school year in remote learning was driven by the alarming, increasing COVID-19 cases in the zip codes we serve and careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, staff and community. We hope each of you will take appropriate precautions to remain safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our region. Thank you for your flexibility, understanding and commitment as we begin the school year during these unprecedented times. As we continue to focus on empowering excellence, we will provide our students with the high quality education they deserve.
 
Expect excellence,
Arthur R. Culver
 

______________________

 July 15, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides qualified employees with paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave specific to COVID-19.  This includes when the employee is subject to Federal, State or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19.

These benefits are only provided to staff who have been employed for at least 30 days.  You may view the full Act here to learn the limitations and allowances of the Act:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Reporting Known or Perceived Exposure to COVID-19

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify your supervisor and provide medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to sharla.randolph@estl189.com.
  • If you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask), we encourage you to get tested for COVID-19.
  • If someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested for COVID-19, self-quarantine from work, and immediately notify your supervisor and sharla.randolph@estl189.com of the status.  You must submit documentation from a medical provider detailing both the positive test result and your status as guardian, spouse or primary caregiver.

If proper documentation is not provided, you may not receive the benefits of this Act.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unsubstantiated documents, unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Local Testing Centers

COVID-19 testing is available for free Monday-Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center.  SIHF also offers COVID-19 testing at the Windsor Center in East St. Louis.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings.  When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-          Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-          Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 feet distance from others)

-          Wash hands frequently

-          Cover coughs or sneezes

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.  Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high-risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Additional Safety Guidelines 

We strongly recommend that you be cautious and practice good judgement as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community and nation.  Do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and your chances of catching the virus. This includes:

-          Limit your exposure to large groups of people

-          Limit your personal travel and exposure to individuals from different geographic areas

-          Monitor your health daily

-          Stay home when you are sick

-          Clean and disinfect high touch areas in your personal space and home

__________________

July 7, 2020

Dear School District 189 Families and Staff, 

We understand there is curiosity about our transition plans for returning to school.  The decisions around school re-entry are being carefully planned, as the education of our students and safety of all stakeholders are the top priorities for our district. 

I have been working with district Cabinet members and school administration for the last several weeks to ensure we create a safe Comprehensive Return-to-School Plan that meets the diverse needs of our students and staff.  Our district was among the first in the region to begin intensive back-to-school plans that included involvement from multiple stakeholder groups.  A back-to-school task force, comprised of more than 50 teachers, principals, district administrators, school support staff, parents, partner agencies, and other key stakeholders, has met frequently to discuss and develop detailed procedures. There have been many discussions regarding academic scheduling, breakfast/lunch, health and safety, staffing, transportation, and school visitation while keeping in mind the safety of students, staff and families. The following options are being considered:

  1. Full in-school instruction for all
  2. Remote learning for all
  3. Hybrid model that includes a combination of in-school and remote learning

Please know any option selected in our Comprehensive Return-to-School Plan will be in accordance with guidelines released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Illinois State Board of Education.  In addition to this guidance, the task force will continue to consider insights and feedback from a variety of sources, including: 

  • District 189 Board of Education
  • District 189 June parent survey (15% of families responded)
  • District 189 student remote learning participation data from spring and summer 2020 
  • Documented plans and considerations from other countries, states and school districts
  • Legal Counsel
  • Locals 1220 & 382

As we continue to closely monitor information related to coronavirus transmission trends, we recognize that our planning needs to be fluid due to the uncertainties associated with COVID-19.  With this in mind, we are cautious to avoid overpromising or overcommitting during this pandemic. 

District administration is frequently reviewing data about the transmission of COVID-19 in the zip codes we serve.  According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there have been 807 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 2, 2020 within the zip codes of our school district serving area.  This represents just under a 5% infection rate for our total population.  In the month of June, the cases doubled from 400 to 807.  I urge you to do your part to decrease the spread of COVID-19 by washing hands frequently, wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and adhering to CDC guidance.  If you follow required social distancing guidelines and hygiene practices, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.

By July 31, 2020, we will share our Comprehensive Return-to-School plan(s) to help families and staff prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.  In the upcoming weeks, you will receive updates from our district and schools.  It is imperative that we have current phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses for all our families.  This can be completed through an online school registration for returning students.  Please visit this website to update contact information. https://skyweb.estl189.com/scripts/wsisa.dll/WService=wsEAplus/seplog01.w  If you need assistance, call our Family and Community Engagement Center at 618-646-3130 or visit our website at www.estl189.com.

If you have not completed the survey, please share your thoughts about reopening schools at  https://forms.gle/hbhDZ8YjfFC9igjA9.  Our goal is to hear from all families.

Thank you for your patience as we work to ensure the best plans are being made for our students, staff, and community.

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

July 7, 2020

Dear School District 189 Staff,

Our school district is transitioning work environments from remote to in-person as we prepare for serving our families in the upcoming school year.  Per Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, we are in Phase 4 guidelines (https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-phase-4) but recognize that the situation may change for the better or worse due to the uncertainties associated with COVID-19.

To date, 12-month employees are reporting for in-person work as directed by their supervisor, including the following departments: district administration and staff, warehouse staff, custodial staff, and all security personnel.  In July, we are preparing to open the FACE Center and school offices.  You will receive more information from your supervisor.

Safety Guidelines

The safety and health of our employees, students and families are our most critical priorities at this time.  We have taken safety precautions, including routinely sanitizing and disinfecting all buildings. When staff return to in-person work in our buildings, you are expected to strictly adhere to CDC, IDPH and ISBE guidelines for safety, including:

-          Wear a mask (and wash or dispose of it as appropriate)

-          Adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 foot distance from others)

-          Wash hands frequently

I want to remind you that everyone must utilize appropriate hygiene practices, wear masks, practice social distancing, and adhere to the Governor’s guidance.  If you do so, then your risk of contracting COVID-19 is low. Current CDC guidelines can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

The Health Department advised our school district that high risk close contact for COVID-19 is defined as being within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes with someone who has COVID-19.  If you believe you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please notify your supervisor immediately and be prepared to provide details of the contact.

Reporting to work

All district employees are required to physically report to work per their supervisor’s directive. Employee attendance is a critical factor in student success.  Employees are expected to adhere to the attendance policies.  If you are unable to report to work as required, the absence must be reported to your supervisor and appropriate leave must be taken.  Personal leave and vacation days must be pre-approved by your supervisor.  Unauthorized or excessive absences, a pattern of leave abuse, tardiness, or leaving early may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Children at the Worksite

The presence and care of children at a district worksite creates significant safety and liability considerations for the district and is not permitted.  Child care demands the frequent attention of a parent and thus diverts attention from job performance. Staff members are expected to make the appropriate arrangements for child care prior to reporting to work. 

Social Media Etiquette

As a reminder, all school district personnel should adhere to good judgement when on social media, including your personal account(s). Be smart, respectful, and careful not to make personal comments that negatively impact the public's opinion of our school district (ESTL189 Board Policy 5:125). Your personal opinion may create additional anxiety about students’ and staff’s return to the district. 

All stakeholders will receive communication regarding return-to-school planning.  Although these are uncertain times, I know our staff is serious about the education of our students, committed to excellence in our work, and courageous enough to face any challenge.

Sincerely,

 Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent