June 30, 2021
I hope everyone is enjoying summer break. It’s hard to believe July is right around the corner and the start of the new school year is less than 7 weeks away. We are excited about welcoming everyone back.
The end of the 2019-20 and entire 2020-21 school years were challenging for students, staff and families. However, despite struggles, I am proud of the collective efforts to adapt and meet the academic and social- emotional needs of our students. Now our district’s focus is on a Return to Learn Plan for the 2021-22 school year. It is currently a work in progress, but here are few priorities:
- Return to a five (5) day-a-week schedule
- Prepare for a full-day schedule
- Provide a safe environment for our students and staff, while social distancing to the greatest extent possible
A key component of our Return to Learn Plan that has received inquiries in recent days is whether face coverings will be required. We are planning for multiple scenarios, but please know, our goal is to start the 2021-22 school year in a “normal” environment. At this time, our district and others around the state have asked for guidance from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that provides local control and flexibility; i.e. the autonomy to make decisions based on the health of OUR students and staff as we implement necessary mitigations throughout the school year. Until additional guidance is given, we will not be able to announce a decision on masks.
Additionally, the plan will include programs, curriculum, and services funded by federal stimulus monies to assist students’ academic and social emotional needs after living through a pandemic. Children are resilient, but we will have to adapt some of our practices to assist in their transition back to a new normal. I expect the new Return to Learn plan to be presented to the Board of Education and to our Kahok families towards the end of July. The delay is not ideal, however, the ISBE and IDPH have yet to provide updated guidance for schools. This delay is equally as frustrating for families and district staff!
I appreciate the concern expressed by many regarding the upcoming school year. We ask for your patience a little longer as the district works with health officials, our legal counsel and insurance carrier to finalize our 2021-22 Return to Learn Plan in the weeks ahead.
Last and certainly not least, Happy Fourth of July! Please be safe and don’t forget to wear your purple and show your Kahok Pride!
Mark B. Skertich Ed.D.