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MCUSD 223 Health Bulletin

** Updated Info**

**** Updated info:  March 13, 2020 8:44 am
Yesterday afternoon we received the following recommendations from the Ogle County Health Department:

As a precaution, and in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of exposure, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD), Boone County Health Department, DeKalb County Health Department, and Ogle County Health Departments (LHDs) is recommending that businesses, institutions, and organizations suspend all public gatherings and events of 25 people or more until further notice. We do understand that this threshold may differ from community to community. This number was determined based on our local community considerations and with an abundance of caution.  

As a result, until further notice we have cancelled all events in which we expect over 25 people in attendance. This includes, but is not limited to, Muffins with Mom and other activities where we bring non-staff and students together - including attendance at athletic events should they occur. Additionally, we will suspend all activities that involve travel. This includes traveling to compete athletically, academic field trips, and community service activities taking place outside of our campus. We will also suspend all facility rentals at this time. It saddens me to deprive our students of these opportunities, but it is the appropriate step to take given the guidance from the OCHD. 

Additionally, given that 18 districts around the state and five entire states have temporarily closed schools it is prudent that we all prepare for this potentially occurring. As superintendent, I could not be more pleased with the effort of our teachers and leaders to attempt to prepare to mobilize e-learning for our students. Transparently, there are still a number of logistical items we are working through including how to get hardware in the hands of all kids and attempt to help provide internet access. Moreover, we are concerned and looking at solutions to provide nutritional resources to our kids in need. Simply said, we are thinking through this and are attempting to mobilize innumerable plans in real time to best serve our community.  This is a tough time. We are all in this together. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at 815.980.0310 or pcaposey@mail.meridian223.org.

 

 

***Following up from last week’s email, I wanted to let you know that as a school district we are constantly monitoring the progress of the Coronavirus. The purpose of this contact is to inform you that the school district is preparing and taking the situation seriously. It is not my intention to add stress to the situation or create hysteria; however, I wanted to let you know what has been communicated to school districts.

The Illinois State Board of Education has been in constant communication with schools and as districts we have been encouraged to review existing emergency plans and to create e-learning plans in case school closures are recommended or required. An e-learning plan would use technology (the district would have a checkout policy to allow students without a computer to check one out) to continue the education of our students in this scenario.

Let me be clear, no e-learning plan we could create would replace the quality of education our students receive within our classrooms. Additionally, there are several technological barriers preventing access for many students. We are aware of all of these issues and this is why we did not pursue an e-learning plan when the option was first offered to us from the state at the beginning of the school-year to plan for inclement weather days. Given the tone of the messaging we have received, however, it is clear to me that this is the step we should prepare to take in order to best serve our students.

The reason that I am sharing this information with you is to allow you as much time to prepare your own plan in case we face a situation requiring temporary school closure.  We do not intend to alarm anyone; instead, we are trying our best to keep all stakeholders informed of the situation. (March 11, 2020)

 

Dear MCUSD Students, Staff and Families:

We hope your school year is going well and you are looking forward to the upcoming break in the cold weather.  The health and safety of our students is our top priority, so I wanted to pass on some information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has been shared by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

While the health risk to the general public from the coronavirus remains low there have been three (3) cases confirmed in Illinois.   Currently, the IDPH recommends schools hold classes and events as usual, and follow routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures; no special measures are necessary.

The IDPH also recommends the best way to protect against coronavirus is by taking the same everyday precautions against getting sick in general. These include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To see the complete recommendations to schools from IDPH, please click here. We will continue to closely monitor recommendations regarding coronavirus and will update you as soon as there are any significant changes in recommendations for schools. Thank you for your support in helping to keep our school community healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. PJ Caposey