Please see the attached document for the answers to common questions regarding our return to learn for the 2021-2022 school year. Parents and students, please look for a survey coming your way soon to provide input on Homecoming 2021.
The first day of school is quickly approaching! Custodians have been repairing and cleaning buildings, teachers have been busy in classrooms, and bus stops are being finalized. Supply chain issues have caused some delays in construction at B-PC Elementary. We welcome teachers back to school tomorrow for two full days of meetings and welcome students back on Wednesday. We can't wait for parents and students to see the upgrades to facilities at B-PC Junior High and B-PC Elementary! If you have not yet registered for the new school year, please do so as soon as possible so your child's schedule and classroom placement is available during the various orientations and meet the teacher events scheduled Monday and Tuesday evenings for grades K-9.
District and school leaders met this evening to review the week ahead and will be sending welcome back information via Skylert to all district families later this evening. Please look for those in your school email. Guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education (found HERE) and guidance provided by the District's attorney (found HERE) were used during planning, to insure the District is compliant with the mandate, but common sense and creativity were in the room to make sure we can welcome students to a successful year of in-person learning! As always, please contact your school office if you have questions or need assistance.
At their regular meeting in July, the B-PC Board of Education voted to approve measures that aligned with requirements issued by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health. On August 4, 2021 Executive Order 2021-18 was issued by Governor Pritzker and included the following:
Section 1: School Mitigation Measures. All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students must follow the join guidance issued by ISBE and IDPH and take proactive measures to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors, including, but not limited to:
a. Requiring the indoor use of face coverings by students, staff, and visitors, who are over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, regardless of vaccination status, consistent with CDC guidance; and,
b. Implementing other layered prevention strategies (such as physical distancing, screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, advising individuals to stay home when sick and get tested, contact tracing in combination with appropriate quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection) to the greatest extent possible and taking into consideration factors such as community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks, consistent with CDC guidance.
A copy of this guidance can be found HERE.
There are mixed and strong emotions surrounding this and there are a few districts who have voted to defy the executive order. One such district has already been stripped of its School Recognition Status making that district unable to award diplomas, its students participate in athletics, and jeopardizing district funding. Their legal counsel has already contacted ISBE to appeal reversing that decision and has assured ISBE that the district will be following the mandate. Last night, after a spirited and sometime heated debate, the B-PC Board of Education voted to comply with this mandate. Board members were diligent in gathering information from public health officials, their insurance broker, the District's attorney, and many other sources to inform their decision. All members are to be commended for voting in a manner they feel is in the best interest of our school district.
This has created an unfortunate and unnecessary divide, but I'm confident that we can all agree to at least one thing - we need kids back in school. Staff have been encouraged to remain positive and focus on what their primary responsibility is; to ready their buildings and classrooms to welcome students back next Wednesday. We are hopeful that parents who are unhappy with the source of this debate (the Governor and his executive order) do not bring the fight and the disruption to classrooms when students so need the time in front of teachers and coaches. Time that was lost to them last year. Regardless of how you feel on this issue, please don't take those energies to classrooms and buildings, but where most effective . . . to your senators, your representatives, the Governor, and the Illinois State Board of Education.
Lastly, we have started to field questions about the procedures associated with the executive order, particularly the wearing of masks. The directives below were provided by our attorneys.