FAQ: District 97 Guiding Metrics and Phased Attendance Approach

On Sept. 25, District 97 shared its Guiding Metrics for a Phased Attendance Model, which details the data that will help inform our plans to reopen schools. Below are answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions regarding this information.

If District 97 hits its metrics benchmarks, does it automatically transition to the next stage of its Phased Attendance Plan?

The metrics we have identified will be used as a guide to determine when it is safe to reopen our buildings based on community transmission of the virus. However, this is just one variable in our transition plan. Other operational variables that impact our ability to open may include: staffing, changes to the guidance provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), PPE procurement, or school-specific matters related to physical distancing. All of these factors together would help us determine when we are able to move to Stage 3 (partially remote with on-site hybrid programming for all students).

As outlined in the chart, we are looking for:

  • Weekly cases per 100,000 = Less than 70
  • Test positivity = Less than 5%

When considering a shift to more on-site learning in Stage 3, we want to see our metrics remain under the designated thresholds for 10 days.

What sources are being used for the guiding metrics?

As outlined in the document, we are using the following sources for our metrics:

Why is the district using the positivity rate for Region 10 (Cook County) rather than Oak Park?

Unfortunately, the State of Illinois can institute restrictive measures based on the regional numbers—not local numbers—as part of the Restore Illinois plan. Oak Park has its own public health department, but the village is part of Region 10. It will be subject to any restrictions that may be instituted. The percent positive is a critical measure because it gives us an indication of how widespread infection is in the area where the testing is occurring—and whether levels of testing are keeping up with levels of disease transmission.

When will District 97 transition to Stage 3?

Based on the data we are tracking for our area, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to transition to Phase 3 by our target date of Nov. 30, which is the first day of Trimester 2. However, we are moving forward cautiously, and will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff and community as we consider options for in-person learning.

When will the district share a written plan for reopening its buildings?

We are currently planning to share our framework for reopening by Friday, Oct. 9. We will also be updating an FAQ for the hybrid learning model.

Will District 97 provide an option for students to continue with full-time remote learning?

Yes, District 97 will provide a full remote learning option for students during Stage 3. Families will be sent a digital form by Oct. 9 to indicate their learning preferences. It is up to each family to determine which model is best for their students.