Superintendent's Message April 28, 2022

Dear D181 community,

Next week (May 2-6) is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and while it is important to recognize the amazing work that teachers and staff perform every day, we have dedicated next week to the recognition and celebration of some of the best staff members in the country.

I continue to be impressed by our teachers' ingenuity, resilience and passion as we have navigated unprecedented challenges over the past two years. Every day I see our staff keenly focused on the success of all of our students regardless of the circumstances. Their dedication has always been inspiring and I am proud to lead such an amazing group of staff members. I also want to thank all of our PTOs and our parents who have been preparing for this upcoming week to ensure that our staff members feel our collective sense of gratitude.

I hope that you join me in thanking the hundreds of staff members that play such an important role in the lives of our students!

On another note, we continue to navigate what seems to be an ever-changing landscape when it comes to COVID. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in cases in our District and throughout DuPage County. We are well aware that it has become difficult to accurately track the latest guidelines and to understand all of the nuances. Therefore, we wanted to clarify some of the information that may have been confusing.

Over the past few weeks, we have reported that we remain focused on sending symptomatic individuals home and recommending that they test if they have specific symptoms.

With regard to returning to school after a COVID positive test case, the latest CDC and IDPH guidelines and IDPH decision tree provide that a student who has tested positive and is asymptomatic may return to school after five days if they mask. However, legal counsel has stated that school districts cannot exclude an individual from school if they are asymptomatic or symptoms are improving and have declined to wear a mask for an additional five days. In essence, school districts do not have the authority to exclude (or quarantine) asymptomatic students without the IDPH or the local health department obtaining a court order directing such. As a result, we are strongly encouraging masking for students and staff when they return to school beyond the five-day point.

We are continuing our mitigation efforts and encourage you to take advantage of surveillance testing for all students and staff. (You can still sign up by logging in to Skyward, selecting the Forms tab, and checking the permissions box.)

Masks are also available in all of our front offices. Also, please feel free to sign up for our daily reporting of cases by emailing communicationsdepartment@d181.org or view our COVID dashboard.

As always, thank you for your partnership throughout the year and I look forward to seeing you in all of the upcoming end-of-the-year celebrations.

Sincerely,

Dr. Hector Garcia

Superintendent


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