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Update from our Superintendent

October 15, 2020


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Edinburg Families, Our Board of Education held a meeting last night, in which our anticipated return to in-person was discussed. The Board voted to return to the in-person learning plan on October 19, 2020 for K-8 with HS students returning on October 26, 2020. We are excited for our students to return to the building each day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. while continuing to receive their P.E. instruction remotely in the afternoons. Students that have elected to remain in the remote setting will transition to Educere for the entirety of the 2nd quarter. Essential Information for Families to Know Health Department and Chrismont EMA We are in regular contact with the Chrismont EMA. They and our Christian County Health Department have been incredible throughout this pandemic and continue to be accessible and supportive. A point of emphasis from Chrismont EMA for families to understand is that there can and should be a playbook on “what happens if” for possible cases, exposure, and contact tracing. However, each situation is unique in and of itself. Therefore, we may hear of a possible exposure in a school and they shut down the entire school and in another situation they only needed to quarantine 3 students. This is an example involving extremes but I believe you will understand my intention in that there are a large number of factors that go into the assessment that the Health Department carries out. This may seem confusing at times if 1 reaction appears different from another but it is extremely comforting to me to know that the virus is now understood to the point that components have been identified that mitigate or increase spread likelihood and that there is not a simplistic rubber stamp that is carried out as a reaction to concern. Another point of emphasis that Mr. Nimmo speaks to is regarding what each of us can do to reduce spread and for this case, improve our probability for sustained success. You and I have heard this many times but it continues to remain essential and that is to wear a mask effectively, socially distance, and wash hands thoroughly. Other Essential Information We are living within a pandemic. We are all “over it” to put it mildly. However, none of us are looking to just forget the guidance and risk the safety of our kids. I am confident that we will all continue to take it very seriously. As you would hope, symptoms will be taken very seriously in that a student and their siblings will be quarantined and sent home should symptoms present when entering or within the school building. We do not look forward to this process but it is a major component of returning successfully and we will do everything in our capacity to be discrete and supportive of the kids when these symptom evaluations / quarantines occur. The plan as of last night was not intending for HS students to start back a week later. However, a staff member received confirmation of a positive test result today which the County Health Department has determined multiple other HS staff members have been exposed and will need a quarantine period. We have applied our plan in consultation with the Health Department and have already completed a deep cleaning process of all areas affected. Our Elementary and JH staff have not been exposed and are able to carry on as intended. Allergy, cold and flu season is approaching, and will result in challenges for us due to having to exclude children and staff from school if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms unless documentation from a doctor is provided as it may be reasonable that the symptoms are allergies or another factor but the school will need certainty for the safety of others. There will be more challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19 throughout our State and Nation throughout this entire school year. As with all plans to this point, everything is subject to change pending further directives from the ISBE, IDPH, Christian County Department of Public Health, Chrismont EMA or other extenuating circumstances. As stated previously, we are living in uncertain conditions while craving certainty. There cannot be a better example than our board voting to start in-person learning and the very next day having a need to delay the HS start date. We intend to continue to plan, execute, and evaluate what we are doing here at school to ensure the highest chances of sustained success while also fully realizing that factors out of our control can disrupt our plan. Thank you all for your unwavering support. Sincerely, Ben Theilen Superintendent Edinburg CUSD#4