7/22/21 Back to School Update

Waterloo Families, 

Consider this email as just touching base on the issues of returning to school.
What we know today:

  • Schools are to resume in-person learning for all student attendance days.
  • Remote instruction will be made available for unvaccinated students, only while they are under quarantine from the local health department.
    • While remote learning may include live streaming, access to pre-recorded instruction, other digital content, homework packets, etc., it will not include the same amount of remote access to teachers that remote students experienced last year.
    • We will provide more details on what students should expect during quarantine periods as we begin the year.
  • Masks should be worn by unvaccinated individuals.  Masks will help to reduce transmission of the virus, reduce the number of students being quarantined, and help keep our schools open for in-person learning.
    • We may elect to require masks be worn by unvaccinated individuals, or even all staff and students, in response to local transmission of the virus.
      • Current spread of the virus in Monroe and surrounding counties is of great concern.  If this does not improve, parents (and students) should prepare for the possibility of masks being required for all students until conditions do improve.  Decisions on this and other mitigation strategies will be made in consultation with our local health department and will be based on regional metrics and local transmission of the virus.

What we don't know:

  • We are still waiting for an updated Exclusion Tree from IDPH for guidance on how quarantines will be determined and what our contact tracing requirements will be. 
  • We anticipate the possibility of the CDC and IDPH updating guidance in response to the current spread of the Delta variant.  
  • Any updates in guidance will likely result in additional updates by the Illinois State Board of Education.

We ask for your support and cooperation as we prepare to start the school year during what is developing to be a very complicated time.  Parents should be thinking ahead for how to respond to children being quarantined and/or temporary closures of classrooms, grade levels, school buildings, etc.  As this pandemic continues to evolve, all we can do is respond to conditions as we face them.  Our goal is to operate as close to normal as we can, implementing mitigation strategies that keep our schools and community safe, and keep any suspension of in-person learning limited to only what is necessary.
We will continue to share additional information as it becomes available to us.  We will continue to monitor updated guidance and regional and local conditions over the next several days and share an additional update during the first week of August.
Brian Charron
Waterloo CUSD #5