To Our District 115 School Community:
Back to school 2021. All in, every day.
We have waited for the moment to get all of our LFHS students back in the building, five days a week, and that time has finally arrived. However, it's not enough to simply get everyone in. The goal is to keep everyone in school for the year. With that in mind, I am sharing expectations for student and staff health and safety practices for the 2021-2022 school year.
The Governor's August 4, 2021, Executive Order requires universal masking of all individuals within all school buildings and transportation vehicles (e.g., bus) even when social distancing is maintained. Students may remove masks when:
- They are eating/drinking in spaces and at times designated by the District;
- They are engaging in band activities under the supervision of the District which necessitates removal;
- They are outside and social distance (six feet apart) is maintained.
Masks are intended as an added layer of protection in addition to:
- Physical distancing
- Frequent handwashing
- Use of hand sanitizer
- Working and conducting other activities remotely
- Staying home when sick or experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19
Students who have not been granted reasonable accommodation are expected to adhere to the requirements listed above. The District will address non-compliance with the universal mask requirement through the progressive behavior protocol shared here.
Joint Guidance from ISBE and IDPH states that all individuals in school buildings must wear face coverings at all times even when social distancing is maintained, except for students for whom there are medical contraindications to wearing a face covering as determined by the student's physician. If your child has a medical condition and is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition, please work with your physician to complete the District's Student Face Covering Accommodation Form. If that is the case, your child's Section 504 or IEP team will be convened to discuss how to proceed.
Parents/guardians of students who are not currently served under Section 504 or IDEA who believe their student requires reasonable accommodation to the District's face covering requirement due to a medical condition must complete the District's Student Face Covering Accommodation Form. The form must be verified by the student's physician. The completed form should be provided to Dr. Patrick Sassen, Director of Educational Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have received questions from the community as to whether the District will honor religious exemptions regarding face masks. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) does not list religious exemption as an option so we have reached out to ISBE for clarification on the issue. In absence of this guidance, we are currently unable to accept religious exemptions for masks.
Safe Learning Environment Pledge
We are asking families to monitor their students' symptoms and send students to school only when they are healthy. As a result of the Governor's mask mandate requiring all individuals at school to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, we will no longer require families to sign the Safe Learning Environment Pledge or utilize the daily health screener.
Lead with Kindness
Despite the challenges we have ahead of us, I remain overjoyed about welcoming the LFHS community back on Wednesday. In times of strife, I am reminded to be patient with myself and others, lead with kindness, and stay true to our focus on students.