As we close out our first full week back to full-time in-person learning, let me begin by saying how wonderful it has been to see your students back in our halls and classrooms again. As challenging as a return to in-person learning is at a time like this, there simply is no replacement for the thrills of working directly with students at OPRF.
This message is designed to give you critical updates on vaccinations and SHIELD testing, among other topics. So please read on.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations
- Proof of Vaccination - At this time, 51% of our students and 76% of our faculty and staff have provided proof of vaccination. If you haven’t already done so, please upload your student’s proof of vaccination as soon as possible. If we are able to reach or surpass a 70% total vaccination rate, and if community-wide metrics trend positively, we can begin to explore eliminating layers of mitigations in the building.
Instructions for submitting your proof of vaccination via Skyward can be found here. If you need assistance with this process, Family Access is available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at FamilyAccess@oprfhs.org or 708-434-3737 (Choose Option 1).
- Get Vaccinated - Vaccination is still the number one recommendation from the CDC to protect ourselves and others against COVID-19. The Village of Oak Park is offering free vaccinations and rapid testing at the Thursday Night Out festival on Marion St. in Oak Park every Thursday through Sept. 9, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
- Vaccine Mandate for Employees - We are aware of surrounding districts requiring employees to be vaccinated and are actively discussing the implications that doing the same would have for D200. We will share updates as soon as we know more.
- SHIELD Illinois Saliva Testing
As I noted a few weeks ago, SHIELD Illinois will provide weekly testing to all students, faculty, and staff on site during the school day. SHIELD is working to get several schools in the state enrolled in their system, and the latest we’ve heard is that we can expect to begin testing by mid-September. As a reminder, saliva testing is optional for all students, faculty, and staff, although anyone who is unvaccinated is strongly encouraged to participate.
Here’s the most important piece to this communication: It’s time to opt-in.
Please click here for instructions on how to complete the opt-in form in Skyward. If you are undecided on whether you will participate, I encourage you to click into the form and review all of the information provided by SHIELD before making a final decision. We hope that all families will opt-in. Please make your decision and do so no later than Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. Please bear with us as we send out reminders about this in the coming week.
- Quarantine Procedures
In the event that a student is required to quarantine, the Office of Student Learning will assign two individuals to support the student throughout the duration: a remote instruction facilitator, who will provide one hour of instruction, five days per week; and a remote tutor, who will provide additional academic and social emotional support. The remote instruction facilitator and the remote tutor will reach out within 24 hours of quarantine beginning to schedule sessions.
- Masking and Lunch
I have to share just how great students have been about wearing masks during the school day. Please continue to remind them that masks are required in all areas of the building, including hallways, unless they are actively eating or drinking during breakfast or lunch.
As I noted in an earlier communication, we already knew lunchtime would provide challenges, and I thank Principal Parker and her team for monitoring our building-wide mitigation efforts, and looking to find ways to make adjustments to benefit our students. We encourage students who are seeking a socially distanced lunch setting to use rooms 3130 or 3140, or to eat off campus if they are upperclassmen, and we continue to explore additional ways to alleviate lunchtime congestion, including taking a closer look at outdoor spaces. We expect to continue making adjustments this coming week.
Thanks again for all you have done to help make the beginning of this school year as successful as it has been. As always, please reach out if you have any questions.
Dr. Greg Johnson