2021-22 Welcome Letter from Interim Superintendents Griff Powell and Patricia Wernet

Dear District 97 Families,

We extend a very warm welcome to all of you as we officially begin the 2021-22 school year! It is our hope that you had an enjoyable and restful summer, with opportunities to relax, recharge and spend quality time with your family. You certainly earned it! 

The pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for all of us. To all District 97 families, thank you for your willingness to change direction at almost a moment’s notice when we were forced to close our buildings and implement remote learning, hybrid learning and, finally, full in-person learning. Over the past year and a half, your partnership has been critical as we continue to create a positive learning environment for all District 97 students that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child.

District 97 has spent several months developing a comprehensive back-to-school plan designed to keep our students and staff healthy and safe while they learn in person five days a week. Our approach implements data-informed response measures that are aligned with the most up-to-date scientific research and best practices for K-12 schools. The plan also reflects rising concerns about the transmissibility of the Delta variant, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and the fact that the majority of our students (Pre-K through sixth grade) are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Please be assured that all decisions regarding our full return to in-person learning continue to be guided by three priorities: the health and safety of our students and staff; providing consistent, high-quality learning experiences; and our commitment to equity. 

The district's back-to-school plan is linked below. Your child’s principal will provide specific plans for your building. We anticipate that these plans will be updated throughout the year; all changes will be communicated in a timely manner.

We have also created a 2021-22 FAQ page based on the top questions we have received over the past few weeks. Topics include ventilation, remote learning, vaccination and travel.

As interim superintendents, we are privileged and honored to work in partnership with the outstanding families and staff of District 97. There is so much to be said about the power of resilience, empathy and humanity. During our time here, we have witnessed these qualities again and again throughout our school community. These last 17 months have been challenging, but collectively, we will continue to respond in the best interest of our students. We are all in this together.

We hope you enjoy the remaining days of summer and look forward to seeing you next week.

Respectfully,

Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet
Co-interim Superintendents