HES Adaptive Pause Parent Letter

HES Adaptive Pause Parent Letter
Posted on 08/27/2021
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All,

After numerous conversations and true collaboration with the Health Department, I have accepted their strong recommendation to move Highland to an adaptive pause beginning Monday, August 30th. This means that there will be no in-person student attendance until September 13th and all Highland Elementary students will be in a remote learning environment. 

While this decision pains me to make, I am confident that we did absolutely everything we could (including testing approximately 50 Kindergarten and 1st grade students on Thursday) in an attempt to ensure safety and stay open for in-person instruction. 

This decision was not entered into lightly. Our current data throughout the district is alarming. The data from Highland is particularly eye-opening to say the least. We have 21 confirmed and probable COVID positive cases among our students, and our data indicate that up to 60 students have been quarantined this week. For context, we have 309 students between Kindergarten and Second Grade. 

For comparison, we can look at our data compared to our neighboring communities. These are based on zip code comparison data publicly available on the Northwestern COVID dashboard.

The 7-day test positivity rate

Oregon/Mt. Morris/Chana - 7%

Byron - 7%

Rochelle - 4%

Forreston - 14%

Polo - 11%

MERIDIAN - 24%

New cases over the last 7 days per 100k people.
(This is used as a standard of measurement of COVID spread in a community. It simply takes a calculation of POSTIIVE CASES IN A GIVEN TIME FRAME / POPULATION X 100,000 to see the depth of spread.)

Oregon/Mt. Morris/Chana 88

Rochelle - 105

Byron - 123

Forreston - 278

Polo - 205

Meridian -545

HIGHLAND ELEMENTARY – 3,559 (based on current cases, may extend beyond 7 days)
HIGHLAND ELEMENTARY (If you include PROBABLE CASES) – 6,796
(based on current cases, may extend beyond 7 days)

Again, for context – our county has never gone over an 800 / 100k person weekly ratio throughout the Pandemic.

The adaptive pause will be for two weeks, and we will resume in-person instruction September 13th. I know that moving from in-person to remote instruction is terribly difficult and not ideal for student learning, family productivity, or parent's ability to work. In order to provide some consistency, all students will have consistent live meeting time with teachers.

  • Kindergarten – 8:30 daily
  • 1st Grade – 8:30 and 12:15
  • 2nd Grade – 8:30 and 12:15

In addition, teachers will be accessible to parents throughout the school day. To ease this transition, students will practice logging on today and multiple packets of information and work will be sent home with students as we prepare for this transition. Additional scheduling information will also be provided in the packets sent home.

I would also like to publicly thank the health department for working with me for multiple days as we tried everything possible to remain open. I sincerely appreciate the patience that the Health Department provided as we tried everything possible to avoid receiving this recommendation. Please continue to put the health and wellness of our community at the forefront of your actions. Please continue to monitor for symptoms and report them to school. There is high transmission throughout our district and region, not just at Highland, and the more that we can get this under control the less likely there is further disruption to the learning environment. 

There will be numerous logistical hurdles that this causes our families to jump over and through. For that, I do not have a good reply at this time other than I am sorry. 

For any technological need or complications, please contact your teacher and nbelmonte@mail.meridian223.org

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at your convenience. 

Sincerely,

PJ Caposey