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July 23, 2021
Heritage Parents, Guardians, and Students:
As the 2021-2022 school year moves closer, I want to update everyone on the latest developments as the new year begins next month for our students. Registration is August 3 & 4 at Homer and first half-day for students Grades 1-12 is August 17.
Champaign County Superintendents for K-12 public and private schools met with Champaign-Urbana Public Health (CUPHD) officials Wednesday and we were told updated guidance may come at any time from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and CUPHD and their director Julie Pryde, who led the meeting.
Topics CUPHD covered included the latest guidance for what they recommend locally for K-12 schools including for masks, 3-foot social distancing where possible, masks required for all riding school buses & activity vans, length and guidelines for quarantine for COVID exposure, and recovery timeline from COVID-19 infection.
School administrators then voiced their thoughts and shared local feedback, including what we have received from some of our Heritage parents regarding masks and other protocols and the aspirations for a more normal school year for our students.
We will monitor and communicate any updates from those authorities listed above as we prepare our 21/22 Heritage Return to Learning Plan. We have some goals for the year for Heritage outlined below and although they are subject to change at any time, they are our current goals discussed with our school board and administration and in working with our teachers, staff, parents, guardians, and students:
- Full regular school days
- Regular bus routes (masks we are told are required all riders at this time)
- In-person attendance for instruction required for all students per ISBE. Remote learning will not be available except for students on a temporary mandated (by CUPHD) COVID quarantine
- Regular lunch periods (and breakfast in morning at Homer). ISBE may announce in August that all school meals will be free for all students regardless of economic standing, we will update when fully determined by ISBE
- Full extracurricular activities including that for outdoor activities no masks are required at this time
- Monitor CDC/IDPH guidelines at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/school-guidance. No one is required to be vaccinated but current CDC mask recommendation varies by vaccination status and current CUPHD local mask recommendation varies based on vaccination status and age/grade level
- Explore availability of COVID testing system for those with symptoms or choosing to test. Heritage is meeting with the University of Illinois SHIELD team for saliva testing format next week to see what that program entails for K-12
- YMCA after-school program registration information coming soon (they are seeking local workers for Homer program)
As we have unfortunately experienced since March 2020, any of the above goals and aspirations for this year may change at a moment’s notice as the Delta variant spread has been in the news lately. We made it every day in-person instruction during 2020-2021, one of the few schools to do that in Central Illinois, and we want to get closer to normal for this new year. For the latest, follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, download our free Apptegy phone app for Apple & Android phones, and monitor our Heritage web site www.heritage8.org for the latest news and developments.
Tom Davis, Heritage #8 Superintendent