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Spring 2020 School Closure

April 21, 2020

Dear School District 189 Families:

Late last week, Governor JB Pritzker announced that Remote Learning Days will continue through the end of this school year and schools will physically remain closed. We truly miss interacting daily with students in the physical space of classrooms and schools, yet we know this decision will save lives. We all must do whatever is necessary to help minimize and stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Please continue to regularly review communications from your teachers and school principal about assignments, activities and expectations for the remainder of the school year. Feel free to reach out to that teacher or principal by email. (Principal emails and school closure phone numbers can be found on our district website, here: You may also email for any questions or comments.

All students in School District 189 are required to participate in Remote Learning. Based on state guidance, students who do not participate in Remote Learning will be asked to complete assignments during summer school. If your child has not yet engaged in Remote Learning, have them start today! We want all of our students to be ready for success when schools reopen. This happens when students engage in daily academic activities.

All Seniors MUST complete remote learning activities by Friday, May 15, 2020 to ensure they meet graduation requirements. 

Grades will not decrease provided the student participates in remote learning activities; however, grades can be improved. Students who do not participate and engage in remote learning activities will receive an incomplete. All Kindergarten through 11th grade students must complete their work by Friday, May 22, 2020. If a student does not complete their work, the student will be required to complete remote learning activities during Summer School. Incompletes will be changed into a grade at the end of Summer School. 

While this is a difficult and uncertain time for all of us, I know that upcoming graduates have many questions about how school closure affects their current education, prom, graduation and their future. We are in the process of brainstorming creative ways to celebrate our graduates. More information will be announced in the very near future. I encourage members of the senior class to consistently check for communications from your administration. We will provide refunds for senior and 8th grade dues. Please be patient as we work to provide these refunds and finalize graduation recognition in a way that will adhere to the Governor’s social distancing order. 

State Superintendent Carmen Ayala noted that while our school buildings may be closed, the hearts and minds of our teachers and students are wide open. This pandemic has altered the fabric of how we teach, how we learn, and how we connect. But it has not shaken the core of what our schools do, which is educate and advance student growth. We teach social and emotional skills like resilience, empathy, and adaptability, so our students can overcome adversity in challenging times like these. Although unpredictable events in life may wear us down, we all have the strength and the determination to rise again. I have confidence that we will continue to empower excellence.


Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent


April 1, 2020

Dear School District 189 Parents, Students and Community Members:

I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well. Yesterday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced schools will remain closed and that remote learning in Illinois will be extended through April 30, 2020 in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

During this time, at-home learning will continue. Our schools’ commitment to learning and education will remain open and learning will continue for all students - just through a different format.

While it is not ideal, we want to assure you that at East St. Louis School District 189, our teachers, administrators and support staff are fully engaged and willing to take on this new challenge and push forward with remote learning, engaging with students and continuing with our food distribution program. 

I know this is not the school year that any of us imagined, but I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have dealt with this unprecedented situation together. 

Here are the three priorities for our leadership and planning moving forward:

Priority 1 - Feed and care for the extended safety, health, and welfare of all children and youth in the community at large. 

School District 189 is proud to provide dependable meals to all children and youth in our community age 18 and under and up to age 21 for those with special needs. Grab and Go Meals on Wheels are currently available Monday-Friday from 10:00am-Noon. We are grateful to our partners at Illinois Central Bus and Chartwells and to the critical staff that make this service possible. You can find the locations for Grab and Go Meal pick up on our website:

Priority 2 - Communicate clearly with staff, students and community. 

Rumors and inaccurate information may spread during this time of uncertainty. Please use our school district website to receive accurate and timely information. You can also receive news highlights on our @estl189 Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you have questions pertaining to your child’s education, please contact your school principal. A list of all principal email addresses can be found here: If you have other questions, please email Robocalls will continue to be sent out periodically. We encourage all families to provide their principal with a current, working phone number and email address. These uncertain times can be stressful and traumatic for children and youth. If students need social and emotional support, please contact our School District 189 Students Support Text Helpline: 618-249-4443.

Priority 3 - Provide for the continuity of learning in the greater East St. Louis community. 

All students should be checking their school emails frequently for communication from their teachers. Our school district website includes links for our curriculum, Google Classroom, and numerous other education resources to support learning during school closure. If your 1st-12th grade student needs a Chromebook and you have not already picked one up from school, please contact your school principal to make arrangements.

Through April 30th, it is critical for all members of our community to follow the stay-at-home guidelines and practice social distancing. Even though the weather may be sunny and beautiful, it is not safe for groups of 10 or more children, youth or adults to be gathering for sports and other activities. Please keep 6 feet distance between you and others in the community at all times.

While this is a difficult and uncertain time for all of us, I know that upcoming graduates have many questions about how school closure affects their current education, prom, graduation and their future. I encourage members of the senior class to consistently check for communications from your administration. We will provide more information as we receive guidance from Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education. Senior dues will be refunded for activities we are unable to provide. Currently, the Governor’s order prohibits gatherings of 10 or more. Due to the uncertainty that has been caused by the coronavirus, we cannot determine when or if senior activities will be held. Because of this, we will provide refunds for senior dues. Please be patient as we work to provide these refunds.

It’s important we continue to work together and support our students. Thanks again. 


Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent


Complete Letter from Superintendent.4.1.2020