With the entire state moving into Phase 4 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan on June 26, we are currently reviewing updated guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education about reopening school for the 2020-21 school year.
Assuming Phase 4 will be in effect on August 13, the scheduled first day of school for Stevenson, we will likely reopen in a blended or hybrid schedule, with one-half or one-third of our students on campus each day. The intention of the hybrid option is to reduce the number of students in school each day in order to maintain social distancing and reduce the transmission risk for students and staff. Detailed information will be shared with the District 125 community in July.
Assuming that we are not yet in Phase 5 (“Illinois Restored”) by August, it is important to know that any possible return to campus will look and feel very different than it has in the past. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has issued the following requirements for schools to reopen under Phase 4:
a. Masks or face shields will be required to be worn by all faculty, staff and students.
b. Extensive building cleaning would occur throughout the day and in the evening.
c. Social distancing protocols must be followed and class sizes significantly reduced (approximately 50% of students every other day)
d. Large group gatherings or activities of more than 50 people will not be allowed to meet.
As the health and safety of our nearly 4,300 students and 600 faculty and staff is our first and foremost priority, we will be working this summer to prepare for the implementation of the guidelines from the IDPH and the ISBE, as well as the Centers for Disease Control. In addition to the requirements listed above, students, faculty and staff should expect that any return to campus will require these additional safety and health precautions:
- A shared commitment to enhanced daily hygiene practices
- Daily symptom-checking and temperature-taking.
While risk cannot be eliminated altogether, we believe that by following the advice of our medical partners, and the health and safety guidelines from the CDC, IDPH and the ISBE, we can significantly reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus on campus. Doing so however will require a shared commitment by all of us to take care of ourselves and each other with care and compassion.
This summer, several committees are at work to make plans for the reopening of school:
- Hybrid and Remote Teaching and Learning
- Daily Health Practices
- Nursing Practices
- School Operations
- Co-Curriculars and Athletics
- Classroom / Lab / Locker Room Procedures
- Student Supports
- Special Education
- Food Service
- Cleaning and Sanitization
- HVAC / Air Circulation