Coronavirus Update: D97 Schools Closed Friday, March 13

Dear District 97 Families,

Earlier this evening, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced new guidance to minimize the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), including strict restrictions on large gatherings (250 individuals or more) statewide. As of March 12, we do not have any confirmed cases in Oak Park, and local health officials have indicated that the risk for the majority of the US population, including our community, remains low. As community leaders, we believe we have a responsibility to help maintain that low risk status.

With this in mind, District 97 has made the decision to close schools to students on Friday, March 13. We will hold a planning day for staff in order to make final preparations for remote learning. Students and families may go to their schools between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to pick up all essential items, books and valuables. After this time students and families will not have any access to the school until further notice.

We intend to implement remote learning (E-learning) for all students beginning Monday, March 16. Our current plan is to return to normal operations on Monday, March 30. However, this is a rapidly-evolving situation and we will keep you informed if our plans change.

Spring break will still be observed Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27. Students and staff will not be expected to participate in remote learning (E-learning) during spring break.

This decision was made out of an abundance of caution and as a preventative measure to limit the spread of illness in our community. This is an unprecedented situation—one that has caused a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety not only here in Oak Park, but in communities worldwide. We want to assure you that we are working diligently to ensure that students, staff and families have the support and resources they need to get through this challenging time.

We will continue to provide you with regular updates as the situation evolves. For the latest information, please visit our district website (https://www.op97.org/updatecenter/index), and please monitor your email and phone for messages from the district. The remainder of this letter addresses a number of issues related to COVID-19, including:

  • Remote Learning (E-learning)
  • Meals for Free/Reduced Lunch Students
  • Spring Break Travel
  • Sports, Clubs and Events
  • Resources for Speaking to Children about Coronavirus

I want to thank you for your patience and support as we navigate this challenging situation. I am proud and thankful to serve the community of Oak Park, and I am confident that we will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Carol Kelley
Superintendent

Remote Learning (E-learning)

Remote learning (E-learning) will take place at home to provide the continuation of learning in students’ coursework without interruption, with both digital and non-digital items. We are planning to implement remote learning (E-Learning) Plans starting Monday, March 16. A letter with detailed instructions will be shared with parents as soon as possible. 

Please know that this is our first time implementing remote learning (E-learning) in District 97; we are asking for your patience and understanding as we continue to refine our systems and procedures. 

Meals for Free/Reduced Lunch Students

We are working with our food service provider, Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200, to provide 10 days of prepacked, shelf-stable meals for students who currently receive free and reduced lunch. Meals will be available for pick up at Oak Park and River Forest High School. We will share further details as soon as possible. 

Spring Break Travel

As we approach the upcoming Spring Break, families may have made plans for international or domestic travel. If you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for guidance about any restrictions upon returning to the United States. This suggestion is particularly important for visits to any country under Level 3 Security Alerts, in which individuals are subject to 14-day quarantines before returning to schools. Current countries under Level 3 Security Alerts are: China, Iran, South Korea, and up to 30 countries in Europe. District 97 will follow all CDC guidance about required exclusion periods.

Sports, Clubs, and Community Events

All school events, club meetings, performances, sports practices and competitions, and field trips are canceled until further notice. 

Resources for Speaking to Children about Coronavirus

We believe it is important that we continue to care for one another and model measured behavior for our students. This includes sharing factual information and refraining from stress-inducing language. We have compiled a few resources for speaking to your children about coronavirus below.