Moving Forward Together in the New Year!
Dear ESD 159 family,
I hope all have had a safe and well 2021 thus far.
During the regular Board of Education meeting held on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, the Board did not vote to approve the Hybrid Learning Model recommendations. Therefore, we will continue with Remote Learning until further notice. Our parent surveys suggested that 70% of our families were not comfortable with students returning in February. However, our primary goal and our fundamental focus as we move into 2021, is that students, teachers and staff are safely learning and growing together in our schools. This will remain our primary goal for this 2020-2021 school year until we can confidently implement our in-school reopening plans and move forward to the transition to in-school learning.
However, as we continue to contemplate a safe return to school buildings for our children, we continue to be mindful to monitor the currents positivity rate within our county and our zip codes. As we monitor the data, we are clearly witnessing a downward trend in the number of positive cases of COVID 19. We are also noticing similar trends across the State. It is imperative that we continue to follow the science and research as we plan forward.
There has been new research that raise questions about the impact of the pandemic on children. An emerging body of evidence suggests that young children do not spread the coronavirus easily. However, as more research emerges with respect to COVID-19 transmission and schools, better and more effective treatments are identified. In addition, with the arrival of an FDA-approved vaccine, opening schools can become a reality.
We have also received updated information regarding the forthcoming vaccination process and are grateful that educators have been prioritized in the distribution process. While phase 1a focuses on our healthcare providers and those in long-term care facilities, phase 1b will focus on educators. As mass vaccination sites are opening across our state, we continue to receive guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health on when and where our staff can go in order to receive their vaccination.
We are continuing to track new developments and will be updating you with more information as soon as it becomes available. I most certainly appreciate your patience as we work through the many obstacles of this pandemic. We are stronger together.
Dr. Mable A. Alfred
Superintendent of Schools