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EPS Reopening Update

EPS Reopening Update
Posted on 06/29/2020
New School

Dear East Prairie families,

We hope the first few weeks of summer find you healthy, happy, and enjoying the gift of summer!  This past week, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced guidelines that will allow schools to resume in-person instruction safely for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.   A full return to our “normal” school environment is not likely until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan, which is likely still  several months away.   All schools in Illinois serving Pre-K through grade 12 must follow these guidelines; mandates include: appropriate social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitation, screening procedures, and other accommodating measures.  See STARTING THE 2020–21 SCHOOL YEAR for a full list of guidance provided by these agencies.

This document will help us begin to answer the critical questions about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, remote learning,  or a blended model, as well as, scheduling, transportation, PPE and face coverings, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process. We will rely on this detailed guidance, and other expected updates, as we begin to transition to next school year, holding the health and safety of our students and community first and foremost.

Moving forward, we will reach out with timely communication  as we develop and finalize specific plans for what school at East Prairie will look like in the fall.  We are keenly aware of the urgent need to communicate with families about what to expect next school year and anticipate releasing our own transition plan as soon as possible.  Furthermore, we will be reaching out soon with ways we seek to involve families in this process.  Your input and perspective is essential to us serving our EPS community to the fullest extent possible. 

As you may already know, our district began preparing for reopening this spring and has formed reopening committees that have been brainstorming potential options and plans.  This most recent guidance will accelerate those conversations, and we are confident in our ability to put forth a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our learning community while maintaining a dynamic learning environment for all students.   Again, we will be reaching out for parental input in July to further guide our planning efforts.

While we work on developing a plan that returns students to as much in person instruction as possible, we must comply with ISBE and IDPH mandates.  In order to help our families plan for the start of next year, we are advising families to be prepared for a scenario where your child may not attend school every day when school begins.  While no final decision has been made, and the guidance is expected to evolve, we would rather have you plan for this possibility proactively.  

Thank you for your patience, understanding, flexibility, and grace as our district navigates the challenges of this pandemic.  We are committed to collaboration as we diligently work to ensure our plans best serve the unique needs of our East Prairie community.  We will continue to keep you updated throughout this process and will share more  specific plans as they are developed.  In the meantime, we wish you a safe, happy, and healthy summer!

In partnership,

The East Prairie Team