Update: Shelter in Place in Oak Park and Continuation of Remote Learning in D97

Dear District 97 Families,
On March 18, Village of Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb declared a local state of emergency under the Illinois Municipal Code due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and is urging residents to stay home to protect the public health. Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley also issued a public order that requires residents to shelter in place effective Friday, March 20, through Friday, April 3.

Exceptions are detailed in the order posted below. These include businesses that provide essential services, including grocery stores, banks, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants for delivery and pick up only, laundromats, skilled trades essential to maintaining the safety and sanitation of residences, hardware stores, medical service providers, first responders, transportation providers, government activities and essential social service providers and shelters. The action of the mayor is in place until the next meeting of the Village Board of Trustees.

What This Means for District 97

Due to today’s public order, District 97 schools will remain closed through April 3 and we will continue with our Remote Learning (E-Learning) Plan. Here is the schedule:

  • Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20: Remote Learning (E-Learning)
  • Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27: Spring Break
  • Monday, March 30 - Friday, April 3: Remote Learning (E-Learning)
  • Beyond April 3: To be determined

As you know, this situation continues to evolve daily. The rest of this email contains important information regarding remote learning, meal distribution and community resources. Please continue to monitor the district website (https://www.op97.org), your email and phone for updates from the district.
Thank you for your continued support, patience and resilience during this challenging time.

Dr. Carol Kelley

Confirmed Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oak Park

Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley announced Wednesday that a village resident has tested positive for COVID-19, the first positive case in the community. The individual is an adult male in his 30s, and is currently recovering at home and is in isolation. The village indicated that he is not affiliated with local schools. Click here to read more >
For the latest updates from the Village of Oak Park, please visit https://www.oak-park.us/news/covid-19-coronavirus-resources.

School Closure Updates and Community Resources

District 97 has created an online hub for updates about COVID-19 and our school closure (https://www.op97.org/coronavirus). We will also use this space to provide links to resources (financial, mental health, nutrition, housing, etc.) that support the well-being of our students and families. We would like to thank our incredible nurses and social workers for compiling this information over the last few days!

Act of God Days and Remote Learning Plans

Last week, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker declared March 17 through March 30 as "Act of God" days for Illinois schools. This means that 1) they are not considered "Instructional Days" by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and 2) they will not be made up. However, school districts were strongly encouraged to move forward with remote learning plans to provide continuity of education for students.

District 97 remains committed to providing continued learning for all of our students to the very best of our ability. We will hold Remote Learning through the remainder of the week and March 30 through April 3. Our website for Remote Learning (E-Learning) can be viewed by clicking here.

  • Attendance: All of our schools will continue to use Google forms in the morning, which helps us track student participation in remote learning. Attendance will not be entered into PowerSchool, nor will it be used against students in any way. Our goal is to encourage participation, with the understanding that these days will look different for every family.
  • Grades: Teachers may provide feedback to students on remote learning assignments, but—per ISBE guidelines—work cannot be formally graded since these are not official Instructional Days. The latest guidance states, “As we do not yet know the full extent of the closure and want to minimize any negative effects on students, schools may allow student work to count during the closure ONLY to increase a student’s academic standing.” The updated guidance from IBSE can be viewed by clicking here.

Meals for District 97 Students

District 97 has been working with our food service provider, Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200, to ensure that all District 97 students have access to meals during our closure, including Spring Break. Please see the information below for those who are interested in receiving shelf-stable meals.

  • When: Friday, March 20, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Pick-ups will be held at Longfellow Elementary School (for Julian and feeder schools), 715 S. Highland Ave., and Brooks Middle School (for Brooks and feeder schools), 325 S. Kenilworth Ave.
  • What: Each bag will contain breakfast and lunch items for six days.

BrightArrow Delays

BrightArrow, the district's mass notification service, has been experiencing some delays in email messages being sent due to the unprecedented number of district's utilizing the tool over the past week. They are working to resolve the issue. In the meantime, the Communications Department will also utilize MailChimp to ensure that all parents receive messages in a timely manner. All updates will be posted on the district's website, https://www.op97.org.