A Message from Superintendent Mike Riordan

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Yesterday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced masks will be required for students, teachers and staff at all Illinois K-12 schools. The new measure is part of the state’s ongoing effort to combat a new surge as the Delta variant rapidly spreads.
 
The mask requirement is inclusive of youth sports and activities, with masks now required for all indoor extracurriculars and sports. In line with CDC guidance, masks are not required for activities outdoors where transmission risks and rates are lower.
 
Yesterday’s announcement differs from the reopening plan our school district recently adopted. In recent weeks, the CDC, IDPH, and Cook County Department of Public Health have made revisions to their guidance for schools to ensure a safe reopening for all students.  Additionally, our community metrics have indicated a significant increase in the virus spread.  Therefore our Safety Mitigation Plan has been modified.  Changes to our previous plan are in bold below.
 

 
Fall 2021 Safety Mitigation Planning
We are very pleased that the recent CDC and IDPH guidance prioritizes the need for a full in-school experience for all of our students this fall.  We will continue to update you when new information is available, and our plans will continue to evolve as our community metrics shift and guidance is updated. For now, please note the following information.
 
The CDC’s updated COVID-19 guidance for schools strongly recommends that all individuals in schools wear masks while indoors and in school vehicles, and the Governor has implemented a mask mandate for all Illinois schools.  Therefore, effective immediately, all staff and students will be required to properly wear face coverings while indoors on campus.
 
Some key elements of our safety mitigation strategy for the 2021-22 school year include:
  • A return to an in-person, standard 10-period school day, including lunch served in our cafeteria.
  • A return to full in-person, regularly scheduled extracurricular programs, such as clubs, sports and activities.  While indoors, all students and staff involved in extracurricular programs will need to wear a face covering.
  • We join health experts in strongly encouraging people to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Vaccination locations and resources are available at this link
  • All students and staff while riding buses or other school vehicles will be required to wear masks.
  • We will adhere to 3-foot social distancing as much as possible throughout the day, including in classrooms and common areas.
  • Students and staff should self monitor any symptoms for signs of illness each day.   Anyone who is not feeling well should stay home.
  • Students and staff will be expected to adhere to handwashing and appropriate social distancing.
  • We will continue to adhere to CDC mitigation guidelines for ventilation in our buildings.
  • OLCHS will be adopting the Shield Illinois COVID Testing Program, which will be administered to all students on a regular basis.  More information on this program will be provided to families in the coming weeks, and parents will have the opportunity to “opt out” of this program if they do not want their son/daughter to participate.
  • If a student is medically ineligible/unable to attend school, parents/guardians can work with their medical doctor to apply for homebound instruction. The Illinois State Board of Education’s application form is available here.
  • We will follow local health department guidelines and enforce quarantine requirements to prevent a spread of the virus among students and staff. (Fully vaccinated individuals are generally exempt from quarantine in most cases.)  Additionally, students who participate in the Shield Illinois COVID Testing Program will have the opportunity to reduce or even eliminate the need to quarantine.
  • ​​If a student is quarantined, their teacher will provide them with lessons and instructional materials via Canvas, our learning management system, and increased tutoring will be available.
 
We are requesting families to inform us if their OLCHS student is fully vaccinated via Skyward Family Access.  This will allow us to more effectively and efficiently address the contact tracing process and quarantine monitoring.  More information will be forthcoming.
 
Thank you for your partnership, patience and understanding as we continue to diligently interpret and implement the national and state guidelines. Additionally, we will hold a Town Hall Meeting for parents and students to present this information and address any questions you may have.  The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 9th at 6:00 pm in the Performing Arts Center.  Participants will be able to attend either in person or remotely via this link
 
 
Michael J. Riordan, Ed.D.
Superintendent
 
 
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