Dear District 97 Community,
Although our spring break looked much different than we previously imagined, I hope that you all found time to rest and recharge over the past week. This pandemic continues to have an extraordinary impact on all of our lives and much is being asked of each of us, our families and our communities as we navigate our new normal. Please remember to practice self-care—be gentle with yourselves, take breaks, connect with one another. We are here to support all of you in any way we can.
As we head into our second week of remote learning, I wanted to share a few important updates and reminders.
Our goal during this school closure is to provide continuity of education and minimize instructional loss, while continuing to support the needs of the whole child. We also recognize how challenging this time has been and will continue to be for families and staff who are balancing this new schooling experience with their own work and family commitments. We sincerely appreciate the patience and grace you have shown through this unprecedented situation as we work to provide continuous learning opportunities for our students.
We will continue to provide Remote Learning (E-Learning) through the duration of our school closure. Under the current state order, schools will remain closed through April 7. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is working with the governor’s office on plans beyond that date, and we will share updates as we receive them.
Through March 30, school closures have been designated as Act of God Days. On March 27, ISBE issued guidance that requires all school districts to implement Remote Learning Days beginning March 31. Like Act of God Days, Remote Learning Days count toward the minimum length of the school year and do not need to be made up. We are working to provide updated guidance to our staff regarding our Remote Learning Plan, and will share additional information with families in the coming days.
We will continue to hold meal distributions for all District 97 students who are in need, regardless of their free/reduced lunch status. Information will be posted at https://www.op97.org/updatecenter/meal-distribution-during-school-closure. If you have any questions, please contact the district's food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at [email protected].
Our next meal distribution will be Monday, March 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Longfellow Elementary School (for Julian and feeder schools), and Brooks Middle School (for Brooks and feeder schools). Each bag will contain breakfast and lunch items for five days.
District 97 has a broad network of partner organizations that provide an array of supports and services for Oak Park residents. Our social workers have put together a list of community resources, which they will continue to update as the situation evolves. The Community Mental Health Board and Oak Park and River Forest Townships have also put together a COVID-19 Social Services Resource Guide, which is available at https://tinyurl.com/oprfguide.
Stay Connected with District 97
Please continue to monitor our website (https://www.op97.org/coronavirus), your email and phone for updates from the district. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and share your remote learning experience using our district hashtags (#WeAreD97 or #MyD97). We’ve already seen some incredible things—from our staff holding virtual meetings to Irving students recording their own morning announcements. These posts are small reminders that our District 97 community is strong and that we are all still connected, even when we are apart.
Dr. Carol Kelley