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Adaptive Pause: Remote Instruction January 4-28, 2022

January 13, 2022

Dear School District 189 Staff and Families,

Our administration has conducted extensive monitoring of COVID-19 data in our serving zip codes and consulted with the East Side Health District.  The high number of new COVID-19 cases in our community makes it difficult for schools and our local health department to promptly identify individuals who have had close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive.  Due to the overwhelming demand for community COVID-19 testing, the Test to Stay program cannot resume until January 31.  Therefore, we are extending the adaptive pause with remote instruction through Friday, January 28, 2022.  School will resume in-person on Monday, January 31, 2022.  

Daily Grab and Go student meals will continue during the adaptive pause.  Parents or students can get a Grab and Go bag that contains breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  School buses will be stationed Monday through Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at participating schools and centers to distribute meals.  Due to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, meals will not be served on Monday, January 17, 2022.  Please review the Grab and Go Schedule and Locations on our website.

On January 11, 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced they have adopted new guidance for P-12 schools that reduces COVID-19 isolation and quarantine periods.  School District 189 will adhere to this guidance.  Everyone must continue to wear a mask indoors and on school buses.  

The new recommended isolation period for those testing positive for COVID-19 includes:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must stay home for a minimum of 5 days. Individuals may return to school after five days if asymptomatic or if fever-free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved. 
  • To calculate the 5-day isolation period, day 0 is the first day of symptoms or specimen collection date if asymptomatic.  If COVID-19 symptoms continue after 5 days, the individual must remain in isolation until all COVID-symptoms have improved for 24 hours. 

The ISBE/IDPH Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools includes shorter recommended quarantine periods for those identified as close contacts to someone with COVID-19.  The following individuals must quarantine for at least 5 days after exposure, as directed by the local public health department:

  • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated (have not completed the primary vaccination series).
  • Close contacts ages 18 and older who have received the primary vaccine doses but have not received a booster dose, when eligible. 

 

Test to Stay Alternative For Close Contacts:

Students identified as close contacts that do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, can remain in school (excluding extracurricular activities) if they participate in the Test to Stay program.  Individuals who are not participating in Test to Stay must remain home for 5 days after the last contact with someone who has COVID-19 and should be tested on day five. 

Under the new guidelines, no quarantine is required for the following close contacts:

  • No quarantine period is required for individuals ages 18 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including a booster, when eligible.  If the individual develops symptoms, they should isolate immediately and test.
  • No quarantine period is required for students ages 5-17 who have completed the recommended vaccine series.  If the individual develops symptoms, they should isolate immediately and test. 
  • No quarantine period is required for a student who was within 3 to 6 feet in a classroom setting for at least 15 minutes with a confirmed or probable case if both case and contact were consistently masked for the entire exposure period.
  • No quarantine period is required for an individual on school transportation who was within 3 to 6 feet if both the confirmed case and the exposed individual were consistently masked for the entire exposure period and the windows were opened to allow for ventilation or HEPA filters were in use during transit.
  • No quarantine period is required for an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days from date of exposure.
  • Individuals who are exposed to a confirmed case outdoors will not be considered a close contact unless the local health department determines otherwise.

You can review the new ISBE/IDPH Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools for complete details.

The current COVID-19 variant is highly contagious.  Please protect yourself, your family, and your community.  Continue to wear proper-fitting masks and practice social distancing.  The message from health professionals is clear: 

  • Get vaccinated.  Everyone ages 5 and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.  Vaccinations are widely available through East Side Health District, Walgreens, CVS, and community clinics.  Vaccinations are the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Get boosted.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends boosters for everyone 12 years or older.  Get boosted at least 5 months after completing your Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series or 2 months after receiving the J&J vaccination.
  • Get tested.  Testing is very important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  If you or a family member feels ill, assume you have the COVID-19 virus until you are tested.  PCR testing is the most valid COVID-19 testing.  School District 189 provides weekly Shield (PCR, saliva-based) testing for students and staff.  Staff who are required to participate in weekly testing must be tested through Shield PCR or through an authorized PCR testing facility.  Here is the remainder of this week’s Shield testing scheduleThis testing is open to all School District 189 students and staff.
    • Thursday, January 13, at Dunbar Elementary from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
    • Friday, January 14, at the Board of Education Building from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, January 15, at East St. Louis Senior High from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

We know these are difficult times for everyone.  I appreciate your patience and understanding as we focus on providing safety, support, and high-quality education to the students of School District 189.

Sincerely, 

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

 

_______________________________________

Dear School District 189 Students, Families, and Staff,

Due to the very high COVID-19 positivity rates over the winter break within our serving zip codes, School District 189 will begin school on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 in remote instruction. This decision has been made in collaboration with our local health department, the East Side Health District. Details for the temporary adaptive pause include:

  • Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - Friday, January 14, 2022 - All students (preschool through grade 12) participate in remote instruction on a 5-hour academic schedule from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily using their district-issued device. The instructional day includes time for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Student attendance will be taken and a lunch break is included in the schedule. Staff will work remotely from home or report to work in-person, as directed by their supervisor. Families and students needing support with technology should notify their building principal or call 618-646-3322.

 

  • Monday, January 10, 2022 - Student meal distribution by school bus will begin and continue through the adaptive pause. Further details, including a schedule for distribution, will be sent next week.

 

  • Friday, January 14, 2022 - Morning (2.5 hours) of remote instruction for students with afternoon virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences (PTC). The final PTC schedule will be sent by school principals.

 

  • Monday, January 17, 2022 - No school on January 17th in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

 

21st Century After-School Programming

21st Century After-School Programs will continue virtually during the adaptive pause. 



Athletics 

Athletics will continue during the adaptive pause. Student participants should await details from their coaches. Athletics will continue in-person unless notification is provided otherwise. All student athletes are required to participate in weekly Shield COVID testing unless they are fully vaccinated and we have evidence on file. During the adaptive pause, no spectators (not even parents) will be allowed to attend home games.



Shield Testing

All staff and student athletes who are not fully vaccinated and are in-person for a portion of time during the adaptive pause MUST PARTICIPATE in weekly Shield testing. Shield testing will only be provided once per week.  



Collaboration with Local Health Department

School District 189 continues to be in active communication with East Side Health District to monitor current community COVID data. At this time, we plan to return for full in-person learning in schools on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. However, this decision may change based on COVID data for our serving zip codes. We are committed to implementing necessary measures that help ensure the safety of all students and staff when we return to in-person learning.  

 

As updates become available, you will receive more information about the adaptive pause and remote learning. Key updates will be posted on our website at www.estl189.com and on our Facebook page and Twitter (@estl189). In the meantime, please exercise caution and do your part to curb the spread of COVID in our community. I strongly encourage all staff, students, and families to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control. This includes getting vaccinated and, if age-eligible, a booster shot.

 

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver,

Superintendent