Dear Triad Families:
We wanted to share three pieces of information with families. First, on January 11th, ISBE and IDPH released new guidelines for schools in line with the CDC’s updated guidelines. Second, as you may be aware, Triad is one of many school district defendants in two different lawsuits regarding COVID mitigations. Finally, Triad will be shifting Tuesday, January 18th to a non-student attendance day. We are moving the March 11th Teachers’ Institute to next Tuesday, January 18th.
UPDATED SCHOOL GUIDANCE
Effective immediately, Triad School District will implement the updated guidance from IDPH/ISBE. We are in the process of contacting staff, students and parents who are currently impacted by this change in guidance. To keep families informed and up-to-date, we want to share with you the following information:
The updated Public Health Guidance for Schools - FAQ can be found here. Pay particular attention to the updates as of January 11, 2022 in red text. A few highlights that might be helpful can be found on the following pages:
- What should students and staff do if they have been sent home with COVID-19 like symptoms? Pages 20 and 21
- How are close contacts defined at school, in the classroom and on the school bus? Pages 21-23
- What are the best practices for exclusion and quarantine? Pages 24-25
- If there is a large outbreak of COVID-19 within a school, what are the recommendations for temporary school closure? Page 27
- Test to Stay Flow Chart for Students and Staff
UPCOMING LITIGATION DECISIONS
As you may be aware, Triad is one of many school district defendants in two different lawsuits regarding COVID mitigations. The first lawsuit, Austin v. Pritzker, was brought by parents across the state against 145 school districts and the State regarding the mask mandate and the requirement that districts exclude close contacts from school. The second lawsuit, Allen v. Pritzker, was brought by staff members across the state against 21 school districts and the State regarding the testing mandate for staff and the requirement that staff wear masks in schools. Both lawsuits ask for class certification. In other words, they ask that the Court apply whatever the outcome of the case is to all students or staff in a school district instead of applying the outcome to only the named Defendants.
These two lawsuits will be heard in Court next week on motions for temporary restraining order. It is possible that the judge in these cases will determine as early as next week that Triad cannot enforce the use of masks in school for students or staff members, at least on a temporary basis. If that happens, we will have to make some quick decisions about how to conduct school until the lawsuits are resolved. We wanted to give you as much notice as possible regarding the options we are considering.
- Even if the mask mandate is lifted for some or all students or staff, due to the current high transmission rates in our area, Triad will continue to strongly encourage our students, staff, and community to wear masks in schools and in many cases will make additional efforts to create more physical distance between students and staff members not wearing masks in order to prevent additional spread.
- Depending on the transmission rate in our area at the time the decision of the court is released, if we cannot employ COVID mitigations, we may have to move to remote learning. We will work to find other options before we make this decision, but we want you to know that it is a possibility.
We will keep you informed as to mitigations and the outcome of the lawsuits as soon as we have additional information.
CHANGE IN SCHOOL CALENDAR
In light of the possible outcomes of the litigation against the district next week, staff members need additional time to plan and prepare as we work to continue to keep our schools as safe as possible for staff and students.
Because of this, the district will convert next Tuesday, January 18th to be an institute day with no student attendance. The institute day originally scheduled for March 11th will convert to a regular student attendance day in order to accommodate this change.
We will continue to strive to keep students in person learning and participating in after school activities. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work through ever changing times.
Triad Community Unit School District #2