We continue to monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) very closely, and we are committed to providing regular updates to the community. Yesterday we learned that the World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus a pandemic, and the first Coronavirus case was confirmed in Lake County. Lake Villa 41 is working diligently on our preparedness plans and considering a variety of scenarios in the event the virus appears in our school community. We are closely monitoring the latest updates and will continue to seek guidance from public health officials as well as our State Board of Education. This is a rapidly evolving situation.
What is District 41 doing?
Pandemic Plan/School Closures: Administrators and staff are meeting daily to review our Pandemic Plan. This involves determining the district response for possible scenarios should we need to close school. Possible scenarios include using an emergency closure day for deep cleaning if there is a potential connection to a suspected case, or up to a 14-day closure if there is a confirmed case in our school community. There are five emergency days built into the school calendar. If we need to close for an extended time, we will use the emergency days and make them up according to the approved 2019-2020 school calendar. Any days after the five emergency days will be considered as an Act of God and will not need to be made up. I just learned that five Lake County Schools will be closed starting on Monday. The decision to close schools has not been made yet for Lake Villa 41. However, this is a quickly evolving situation.
E-Learning/Distance Learning: District 41 is developing distance learning options for closures anticipated to extend longer than five days. The district is working to prepare grade level educational resources and Google Classroom for families to work on at home. In order to prepare our staff for E-Learning, we will be having an early release schedule on Tuesday. We will also be issuing Chromebooks and chargers to our K – 2 students.
Student Absences: If families decide to keep students home in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the absences will be excused. There will be no academic or educational consequence for missing work during this time.
Cleaning: In response to Coronavirus, we are updating cleaning procedures based on public health guidance, increasing the frequency of cleaning, and ordering additional supplies. We have stepped up our daily cleaning routines. High touchpoints (i.e. light switches, doorknobs, etc) are being addressed multiple times a day by both cleaning and disinfecting. Likewise, additional prevention measures have been taken by Durham Transportation for our busses including adding a daily bus disinfecting regiment and reminding employees how to reduce the spread of germs and viruses as advised by the CDC.
Prevention: All schools are reinforcing hygiene practices with students, making sure students and staff have access to hand sanitizer and providing more time for handwashing.
Facility Usage: In order to mitigate the risk of exposure of COVID-19 to our students while schools remain open, District 41 is considering taking preventative action by canceling all outside facility rentals which bring visitors into our school buildings. We are also considering canceling all non-essential events such as music concerts and book fairs. We will continue to monitor this situation closely. Please know that Grant High School has cancelled this Saturday’s Music in Our Schools Concert.
Public Health Guidance: District 41 is working closely with government partners, and seeking guidance and direction from the Lake County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the CDC and the Illinois State Board of Education. Tomorrow I will be attending a meeting with the Lake County Health Department and Lake County Superintendents.
What can you do at home?
Continue to take precautions to keep your family healthy:
- CLEAN hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- COVER coughs and sneezes
- CONTAIN illness by limiting your exposure to sick people, and staying home when you are ill (student absences will be excused)
Consult a health care professional if you experience COVID-19 symptoms (fever/cough/shortness of breath), if you become ill within 2-14 days of travel, or if you have been in contact with a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
In the event that Lake Villa 41 schools are required to close, we encourage all parents to develop plans now for your children. Unlike winter weather-related closures, school districts may need to close for one or two weeks or possibly more. We understand this would create a hardship for many of our families, especially if we are required to close with very little advanced notice.
Help your children clean their Chromebook regularly (as well as phones and other personal devices.
You can sign up to receive LCHD email updates.
Spring Break Travel?
Due to the recent acceleration of Coronavirus transmission globally, and in accordance with current federal guidance, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends the following:
- Anyone returning from a location with sustained widespread transmission (CDC Travel Warning of Level 3) should not attend school for 14 days after the return date. The travel guidelines are changing rapidly and we encourage you to check the CDC site daily.
- For more information, visit the CDC’s Before You Travel Tips.
We know that you have questions and concerns, and there is conflicting information out there. Let us reassure you that we are putting the health and safety of your children first. This is a rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to keep you informed as we learn more. For more frequent updates log onto our website. Thank you for your continued trust in Lake Villa 41 as we work to respond to this global pandemic.