Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!
Thankfully, the start of this year looks remarkably better than where we were last August. I am humbled by the amazing efforts of the students, their families, and our staff during the shut down in the spring of 2020 and throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
This upcoming school year is likely going to have some challenges, dependent on the direction of public health and COVID-19. Please take a few moments to read through the Leland CUSD 1 2021-2022 Learning Plan ( 2021-2022 Learning Plan), and submit questions, comments, and concerns about any aspect of the Plan and/or the upcoming school year Learning Plan Feedback. Like last year, we will have a working document available on our website to compile and address your feedback. The 2021-2022 Learning Plan will likely be modified and updated throughout the year, and you will be notified and your feedback again welcomed.
There has been a significant reaction to the Governor’s mandate for universal masking in Illinois schools. A school can implement many layers of mitigations to lessen the spread of COVID-19, other viruses, bacteria, and allergens that cause illness and missed attendance. You’ll find the broad list from the CDC and IDPH on page 2 of our Learning Plan. On page 3, we’ve broken it into a more complete list Leland School will have in place at the beginning of our attendance year. By having these mitigation layers in place, we will best position the school to consider a mask optional policy if the Governor returns the decision to local control.
Most of what you will see on page 3 is the same as last year, such as contact tracing and hand hygiene, while others have been modified and added.
- Physical distance to determine close contacts within the school has gone from 6 to 3 feet.
- We will be installing air purification systems in each classroom and in large common areas
- We are able to offer (also free of charge) a PCR test for COVID-19 through a partnership with the University of Illinois. Through weekly SHIELD screening of our students and staff, we can identify a positive case before symptoms develop and minimize contact exposure and quarantine periods.
- We will continue to offer BinaxNOW antigen tests to our students, staff, and their families who have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms. This year, we will be able to use these antigen tests for a Test to Stay protocol (page 6 of the Learning Plan).
- We will no longer offer BinaxNOW through our local health department, but instead in coordination with the SHIELD Illinois program. Individuals must be in the SHIELD screening program to participate in District provided BinaxNOW testing.
No one is obligated to submit proof of vaccination, or to participate in SHIELD or BinaxNOW testing. Quarantine timelines for close contact exposures and for those exhibiting symptoms, are affected by a person’s vaccination status and participation in the available testing. The autonomy of the district to make a local decision about mask wearing will also be determined by local metrics, such as rates of community transmission, and rates of vaccination in the school and community, along with participation in a weekly screening program.
We plan to begin SHIELD screening the week of September 7th. Please take a moment to read through SHIELD Illinois Quick Questions. If you’d like more information, please send me an email. You can submit an initial interest form to help us plan for the initial week of SHIELD Participant Interest. Consent forms will be provided, and a signed copy must be on file in the office prior to test participation.
You may also scan your proof of COVID-19 vaccination or screenshot it and email it to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can bring a copy to the office and a copy can be made to place with other medical immunization records.
I know everyone is exhausted when it comes to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on education. It’s frustrating to start a new year still dealing with mandates and restrictions. Since March of 2020, I’ve listened to stories from other districts and know how fortunate I am to be at Leland School through this trying time. Again, I can’t thank you enough for your time and consideration. Mr. Bickel and I are looking forward to a great school year!