IMPORTANT UPDATE ON IN-PERSON LEARNING: JANUARY 12, 2021
Good afternoon DPS family. We have an important update to share on our planned return to in-person learning.
DPS administration established a series of metrics, which you can find below, to guide our decision making in bringing students back to in-person learning. The safety of students and staff is always our top priority. At this time, our transportation provider All Town is unable to provide the minimum number of bus drivers required to safely transport students to and from school. Because of this, we have made the determination that we cannot safely bring students back in person starting January 19. Therefore, we will postpone the in-person return to February 8, while we continue to look for solutions.
We do understand that the timing of this change is not ideal, as many families will now have to switch childcare plans again. Please know that we are working to make the best decisions we can with the information we have, while always keeping health and safety at the forefront of those decisions. We will continue to monitor the metrics and will keep you informed leading up to the February 8 return. Thank you for your understanding as we continue to work through these unprecedented times.
January 8, 2021 Announcement
We have been monitoring our community’s health data, and based on current indicators, determined that it is in the best interest of our students to begin in-person instruction in Decatur Public Schools. We’ve worked in conjunction with the Macon County Health Department to develop a series of metrics to examine in making this decision – those metrics have been frequently monitor and are posted on our website below. The decision matrix also includes responses should cases arise across our district or in a specific building. We feel confident that making in-person instruction available to those families who want it, while continuing to offer a virtual-only option, is the best decision at this time for our students.
DPS will welcome students back in person starting Tuesday, January 19, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on January 18. Students who have previously declared they want in-person learning are assigned one day per week to attend in person for January 19 – February 5.
- In-person students are divided into two groups, A and B – in-person students will be notified by their school which group they are divided into. Group A students will attend in-person on Tuesdays, Group B students will attend in-person on Thursdays.
- All students will continue to attend school virtually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those who selected to continue with virtual learning only will still receive assignments for Tuesday and Thursdays; those who selected in-person learning will receive assignments for the day of school they are not in-person.
- Only those students who previously declared through Skyward that they would attend in person will attend for January 19 – February 5.
We have been preparing for many months to welcome students back in person. Below are just a few of the new measures that are in place for when students return:
- We will ask parents to certify in Skyward each morning that their student attends in person that the student does not have a fever and is not showing any COVID symptoms.
- Students will also get temperature checks and a symptom screening as they enter the buildings.
- We have enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures in all buildings, and have hand sanitizer and disinfecting supplies available in each classroom. DPS has also hired additional custodial staff to manage these enhanced cleaning needs, including substitute custodians and floating custodial staff to address needs in different locations as they arise.
- All classrooms have also been set up to allow for social distancing between desks.
There is much more information on these protocols in a handbook on our website, just click on Health & Safety above, or go directly to this link to read the Health & Safety Protocols Guidebook.
A form in Skyward is still open today for families to select if they want students to attend in-person starting February 8 – families have until the end of the day today, Friday, January 8, to make that selection in Skyward. If our community’s health data shows it is safe to do so, we will begin welcoming students back in-person more than one day per week, starting February 8. At this time, we are still examining options for expanded in-person instruction, including a possibility of offering two-days per week on the continuing hybrid schedule, in which each A and B group would attend two days per week in person. We will of course continue to offer a virtual-only option for those families and students who want it.
As always, we continue to monitor our community’s health and safety statistics as we make these decisions. We do know we are bound to encounter hurdles and unforeseen bumps in the road along the way, but we will all continue to work together to navigate through these unusual times.
Dr. Paul Fregeau
Superintendent, Decatur Public Schools
Metrics for Determining Type of Instruction
Decatur Public Schools, in conjunction with the Macon County Health Department (MCHD), has developed a series of metrics to determine when students can safely return to in-person instruction in our schools. Below you'll see the signs we are watching for and response should those signs arise. DPS continues to be in close consultation with the MCHD to make all health and safety-related decisions for our students, staff, schools, and community.
These metrics are based on county-level data provided weekly by the Illinois Department of Public Health, which you can find linked here.