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Back to School Safely
Dear Staff and Families:
Burnham School District 154.5 will open its 2021-2022 school year with full in-person attendance. The District has assessed the updated guidance from the CDC, IDPH, and ISBE and is prepared to provide face-to-face instruction, food services, extracurricular, and interscholastic activities. The District’s back to school plan outlines necessary procedures to ensure a safe return to school while maintaining focus on strong academics and ensuring the health and safety of the community.
Due to the pandemic’s fluid, ever-changing impact, the District will continue to monitor and assess the data related to COVID-19. The District will make data-driven decisions and is prepared to move from in-person to remote learning as necessary.
The remainder of this communication is intended to provide an overview of our back to school transition plan which includes an overview of mitigation strategies implemented by the District.
Best Health Practices
Burnham School District 154.5 will continue to follow best practices as defined by the CDC and IDPH.
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
Burnham School District requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) following state of Illinois recommendations as follows:
- Employees and students are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth – In all academic settings including classrooms (unless eating inside classroom but must maintain distance from others)
- When moving around all common internal and external areas of the school and district. (meeting/conference rooms, hallways, bathrooms)
- In all shared office spaces, where two or more individuals are present.
It is understood that most employees and students will arrive at school or the district with their own face masks, whether homemade or commercially manufactured. The District will also provide every employee and student with two reusable, washable face coverings. The District also maintains a limited stock of disposable face masks for students who need them, short-term guests, and visitors. Disposable masks are designed for a single use and should be placed in the trash at the end of each day.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Individuals should maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between one another when possible. Social distancing remains one of the best strategies for limiting exposure and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The District has installed signage and floor markings to ensure social distancing is observed, specifically in areas and offices where lines are likely to form. Employees and students are asked to observe all posted signage and floor markers.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Our Administration and maintenance staff continues to monitor the CDC, IDPH, and CCDPH for the best practices in cleaning our school. The products used for cleaning are on the EPA approved list. All of our custodial staff has been trained in the proper use of the cleaning materials, PPE and the necessary frequency of cleaning to meet CDC guidelines. The District has also installed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout buildings and will continue to maintain these stations. Each student and staff member will be required to sanitize their hands upon entry into the building and will be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the school and work day.
Screening and Temperature Checks
All members of our Burnham Elementary School family are responsible for conducting a daily personal health assessment before coming to school, attending an appointment, meeting, or getting on the bus. Each day, prior to arriving on campus, individuals should complete a short assessment by cross-checking their personal health against the CDC’s list of COVID-19 symptoms.
- Fever or Chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The list does not include all possible symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please stay home and do not report to school or try to get on the bus. Those who are exhibiting symptoms will not be authorized to come to school and should take the following steps:
- Report your condition to the school office (if a student).
- Report your condition to the school office or supervisor and log absence (if an employee).
- Stay home until you are asymptomatic without any fever-reducing medications for at
least 72 hours prior to reporting to the campus.
● Contact your medical provider immediately for further guidance on care and possibleCOVID-19 testing.
The District requests formal reporting for all individuals who have a confirmed case ofCOVID-19, have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have an assumed case of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Isolation Room
Burnham School will have a dedicated isolation room for individuals who are suspected of having or showing symptoms of COVID-19. Students who are placed in the COVID-19 isolation room will remain in the room until parents or guardians come and pick them up.
Students and Staff Who are Sent Home with COVID-like Symptoms
The local departments of public health in Illinois, Cook County and Chicago have recently updated their guidance concerning COVID-19 testing and return-to-work/school admittance.
Based on this new guidance, any individual (student or employee) who experiences COVID-like symptom(s):
- Should be sent home immediately with any siblings
- All students and staff sent home with COVID-like symptoms should be diagnostically tested. Students and staff should remain home from school until they receive the test results. Students and staff who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 must complete 10 calendar days of isolation from the date of first symptom onset and be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved before returning to school. Individuals who have been cleared by the local health department for release from isolation may return to school even if other household members are in isolation or quarantined in the home.
- Students and staff returning to school after experiencing COVID-like symptoms but being diagnosed with a non-COVID illness must meet the criteria for returning to school for the illness with which they have been diagnosed. At a minimum, the individual must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and have had no diarrhea or vomiting in the previous 24 hours. Other diseases have specific criteria for when a student or staff member can return to school. Follow school health policies and communicable disease guidance for those illnesses. A healthcare provider’s note documenting the alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test result should accompany a student or staff member returning to school with an alternative diagnosis after experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Schools and districts should assist families in locating free or reduced-cost medical clinics for assistance where needed.
- Students and staff with COVID-like symptoms who do not get tested for COVID-19 and who do not provide a healthcare provider’s note documenting an alternative diagnosis,
must complete 10 calendar days of isolation from the date of first symptom onset and be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved before returning to school.
- Medical evaluation and COVID-19 diagnostic testing are strongly recommended for all persons with COVID-like symptoms.
The District looks forward to beginning our school year by providing student instruction fully
in-person following pre-pandemic academic schedules. An effort has been made to put the health and well-being of students and faculty members at the forefront while making wise use of the technical resources and the physical facilities of our district. With the experience of shifting coursework quickly to online last year behind us, the district has examined data, learned lessons, adjusted, and improved technology. The District has also taken into account the need for more accountability. As a result Burnham School will require daily attendance and use more traditional grading practices. To accommodate in-person instruction, classroom seating will be re-configured to comply with social distancing and maximum occupancy mandates. Classrooms will be sanitized daily, and there will be at least three feet of space between all individuals when possible. All class participants are urged to wash hands thoroughly before and after class or utilize hand sanitizer provided at stations throughout the school. All students and instructors will be required to wear appropriate face coverings while meeting for an appointment or attending class. We will be successful in, first, caring for each other and, second, delivering the best academic experience possible under these circumstances.
Important Calendar Dates
The fall 2021 academic year begins as follows:
August 30, 2021 - Staff returns to school for preparation
August 31, 2021 - Staff returns to school for preparation
September 1, 2021 - Staff returns to school for preparation
September 2, 2021 - Teacher Institute Day
September 3, 2021 - Teacher Institute Day
Monday September 6, 2021 - Holiday Labor Day
Tuesday September 7, 2021 - First Day of School
Remote Learning Model
In the event that the District moves to a remote Learning Model, instruction will be delivered online through Google Classroom. Students enrolled in remote learning will follow the District’s eLearning/remote learning plan. The eLearning/remote learning plan can be found on the District’s website (www.d1545.org).
By providing flexibility through planning a remote learning environment safer instruction is made possible. Students will receive a continuation of services, including small group interventions, progress monitoring, and additional academic support to ensure they do not fall behind.
School Bus Transportation
The District is working with our bus company, Kickert, to provide safe transportation for those who qualify. It will be required that all students who are transported on a school bus adhere to the recommendations set forth by the guidance outlined by local health officials and ISBE. Students will not be allowed on the bus unless they are symptom-free and wearing a mask. All individuals riding public transportation must wear a mast regardless of vaccination status. The Illinois Department of Public Health guidance states buses can transport a maximum of 50 students and requires all students to wear a mask on the bus. The district is requiring drivers and staff members to wear masks. State guidance recommends members of the same household who ride the bus together should also sit together while on the bus. Parents are encouraged to provide their own transportation if possible.
Due to the lack of qualified bus drivers, we will need to have a staggered arrival and dismissal schedule for all students that ride the bus. Students that ride Bus #1 will be picked up at 8:00 am and will leave school to return home at 2:50 pm. Students that ride Bus # 2 will be picked up at 8:15 am and will leave school to return home at 3:05 pm. We are hopeful that we will be able to schedule transportation with two busses running simultaneously soon.
The District is also working closely with our partner, Open Kitchens, to guarantee a safety-first food service through grab and go breakfast and lunch to limit line sizes and congestion. Breakfast and lunch services will return but will look a bit different than in previous years. Students will be required to eat at individual desks at least three feet apart. In the event of school closure, grab and go food services will be communicated and provided to our students.
Extracurricular, Interscholastic, and Athletics
Extracurricular, interscholastic, and athletic activities will begin at the start of the school year. All after-school programs will be approved on an individual basis as plans are developed and guidance is provided by each school, and the Illinois Elementary School Association.
Visitors and Building Access
Visitors are prohibited during the school day to the greatest extent possible.
● Non-essential visitors and activities involving external groups or organizations will be restricted.
● Allowable visitors will be restricted to the main corridor pending screening, self certification, and by appointment only.
● IEP and 504 meetings will continue to be held remotely.
● Parent/Teacher conferences, curriculum nights, and back to school events will be modified or held remotely.
District 154.5 Goal
Teamwork and communication between the District, families, and staff will be critical this fall. It is our goal to work with our families to provide a safe and high quality learning environment in order to build extraordinary students.
We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to school and we are excited about all the positive changes that have occurred over the summer! It is a true privilege to be a part of a community where parents, teachers, and students care for each other and strive to build positive relationships that support academic success and social growth. We have a fantastic staff that is guided on the principle of doing what is best for students. The past year presented us with unimaginable challenges but also incredible opportunities for change. I am proud of our students, staff, parents, and community, who did an outstanding job keeping each other safe and ending the school year strong with many successes.