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District 208 COVID-19 Transition Committee Stakeholder Update - July 17

RB Students and Families,

The District 208 COVID-19 Transition Committee, consisting of parents, students, faculty, and administration met on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Below are a few key takeaways from the committee’s fourth meeting to keep stakeholders up to date and to answer questions the committee has received since the last update:
  • PHASE 4: At the time of this correspondence, the State of Illinois is still operating in Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan. In Phase 4 Schools can reopen for in-person instruction under specific guidelines and recommendations (ex: face coverings and social distancing). Phase 4 of the Governor’s plan does not require a vaccine for the return of in-person instruction. The State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala issued the following statement Thursday, July 16:
    “We are aware of a rumor circulating about the possibility of Governor Pritzker announcing at a press conference tomorrow a return to fully remote learning for the fall. We have confirmed with the Governor's Office that the rumor is false. At this time, there are no changes to the ISBE and IDPH joint transition guidance for the fall.”
  • REMOTE LEARNING: The committee is aware that some larger districts have made a decision to go with a remote learning model. The great thing about Riverside Brookfield is its size. RB doesn’t have some of the other complications larger school districts are dealing with such as busing and large student enrollment. The committee spent a lot of time this week discussing survey results and the overall concept of an in-person model. The committee believes the strengths of RB (single school district, 1:1 school, dedicated staff) will allow for a form of an in-person hybrid model to be implemented safely. The District will only go to a fully remote learning model if the school needs to suspend in-person learning or the State/IDPH requires schools to go back to Phase 3.
  • SURVEY - HYBRID MODEL: A survey was sent out to RB stakeholders on July 13. The purpose of this survey was to solicit feedback on what would be the preferred method of an in-person instruction model. Based on the preliminary results of the survey and some additional feedback the committee has received, the Learning Subcommittee is developing a Hybrid Model. This model allows for in-person instruction with reduced student attendance and interactive virtual classroom lessons for the students not scheduled to be in attendance on a particular day. More information will be forthcoming once the model is finalized.
  • COMMUNICATION - FINALIZED PLAN: The committee is still using August 3, as a date to communicate a finalized plan to all stakeholders. This decision may be released earlier if the committee work is completed sooner. The status of the pandemic and the guidelines for schools are very fluid, and the committee wants to ensure that we are taking the proper steps to communicate and safely implement the finalized plan. The committee is aware that stakeholders have a lot of questions. When the finalized plan is released, it will include an FAQ document for students/families and a FAQ document for employees. The district is also working on a general COVID-19 email link so stakeholders can submit additional questions not covered in the FAQ to one central location for timely feedback.
  • SPECIAL EDUCATION: The Interim Director of Special Education is a part of the committee, and special education services are being considered within each model the committee works on. Special education services will be integrated into the finalized plan on an individual student basis.
  • SAFETY: The Safety Subcommittee is still finalizing its plans, but the following will serve as our baseline for any “in-person” model:
    • Masks will be required for everyone inside the building.
    • Temperature checks at arrival for all employees and students.
    • Water fountains will be shut off - water bottle fill stations will only be available.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom.
    • Increased cleaning and sanitizing by custodial staff.
    • Teachers will re-organize classroom layouts.
    • Building HVAC - The schedule of the occupied mode will be extended to allow for additional air changes (outside air) prior to student/staff arrival. Additionally, the negative static pressure in the building will be increased by utilizing the exhaust fan system to draw in additional outside air.
  • KEY EVENTS: The Residency Portal is open for parents and guardians to submit their documents. The deadline to submit forms is July 24. Parents and guardians will receive a verification email and link to sign up for the in-person appointment once their documents have been approved. Families that have not received an approval email will need to contact Colette Buscemi buscemic@rbhs208.net for more information. Freshman Orientation will be held in person on August 12. Please refer to the following letter for more information.
  • ACTIVITIES (Band/Choral): Marching band continues moving forward with the “Tuesdays at 2:00” New Band Member Orientation at the RB Football Field. Additionally, Field Show Camp will take place August 4-7 from 8:00 AM-2:00 PM. Preliminary results have been released from the Performing Arts Aerosol Study being conducted in Colorado to determine safety issues and potential protocols for the performing arts during COVID-19. This study appears to align with the ISBE and IDPH re-opening guidelines and may be used to ensure safety protocols for performing ensembles at RB. The Music Department will be providing additional recommended resources and safety measures once the full results of the Colorado study are released and new information becomes available.
  • ATHLETICS: RBHS is currently conducting 19 athletic summer camps that cover 15 sports. Three additional camps are set to begin near the end of July. As of July 14th, the IHSA will defer to the IDPH, ISBE, and the Governor's office on all Return to Play guidelines and guidance. No information has been shared at this time in regard to the status of the IHSA fall athletic season.
View the PDF version below.