November 6, 2020

Superintendent Andy DuRoss sent the following email to District 54 families and staff on Friday, November 6, 2020.

Throughout this school year, District 54 has told families that we are committed to offering in-person instruction “when health and safety conditions enable us to do so.”

We were thrilled to be able to welcome back some of our students this fall, while also connecting and engaging with our remote learners. At the same time, we asked families to be prepared should we need to move into an adaptive pause, where all students return to remote learning.

Effective Monday, Nov. 9, all District 54 students will transition to full remote instruction. We have made this decision based on Cook County and District 54 metrics.

Today the Illinois Department of Public Health released new public health metrics for Cook County. These metrics are guideposts for our hybrid learning plan. Weekly, we assess the overall level of COVID transmission in Cook County, new cases per 100,000 people, the positivity rate, the total number of new cases and the youth case increase as we determine the viability of running in person learning.  The data released today indicated that 4 of the 5 key public health metrics anchoring our plan are now in the SUBSTANTIAL COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION category (see data below).

  • Cook County’s overall COVID transmission level is MODERATE.
  • New Cases per 100,000 People level is SUBSTANTIAL.
  • Positivity Rate is SUBSTANTIAL.
  • Total Number of New Cases is SUBSTANTIAL.
  • Youth Case Increase is SUBSTANTIAL.

In addition, we have seen a rising number of COVID cases in D54 in the past two weeks resulting in the following:

  • Six schools have been placed on adaptive pause due to rising COVID cases and large numbers of staff and student quarantines (Frost, ELC, Aldrin, Link, Mead and Hanover).
  • This week we saw 15 student positive COVID cases and 16 staff positive COVID cases.
    •  Last week we saw 11 student positive COVID cases and 9 staff positive COVID cases.
    • The week prior we had 2 student positive COVID cases and 6 staff positive COVID cases.
  • Today alone we had 781 hybrid learners out on quarantine and 158 staff members out on quarantine.
  • The large numbers of staff on quarantine and the reluctance of subs to take jobs in the pandemic has created a great staffing challenge for us.

It is our intention to return to on-campus instruction under our hybrid model for students currently enrolled in that instructional model when local health conditions and our ability to staff classrooms improve. At this time our adaptive pause will be in place through Thanksgiving break, with a possible return to the hybrid model on Monday, Nov. 30. We promise to keep District 54 families updated.

In order to achieve that goal, we need to work together to prevent the spread of this virus. It is important to emphasize how critical it is to wear face masks, practice social distancing and wash your hands whenever you interact with others. In addition, please stay home when you are ill and contact your healthcare provider. Should anyone who was at school test positive for COVID-19, please contact your school as the incubation period for cases is 14 days.

On Monday, Nov. 9, all students will connect with their teachers and their classmates via Zoom. Staff members will continue to facilitate instruction from their schools. Families can expect to see the same strong academic program, focus on social-emotional well-being, engagement and support they have come to expect from our District 54 teachers.

Thank you for your cooperation and support as we work together during this pandemic. We understand that this presents a hardship for some families, however, we must put health and safety first. Please don’t hesitate to contact your school principal with any specific questions you may have.


Andy DuRoss