January Community Message

January Community Message
Posted on 01/04/2022
NewsJanuary 4, 2022

Dear East Prairie 73 Families, 

I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy. The Omicron variant continues to put its strain on our entire community. I am writing to inform you that SHIELD testing at East Prairie has indicated that 48 of 314 students and staff tested positive for COVID-19 based on yesterday’s testing session. The results have come to us throughout the day and we immediately began notifying students and families.  We are still awaiting a final small batch of tests.   No additional non-household students or staff are required to quarantine at this time but contact tracing remains an ongoing process.  

While the number of positive cases is alarming to all of us, we do find our rate to be relatively comparable to a nearby district that also SHIELD tested yesterday. This is a difficult reality all districts are facing in this area, especially those with the helpful information that SHIELD testing provides.

In the past we contacted individual elementary classrooms and middle school grade levels when positive cases occurred. In this instance, it is likely all classrooms and grade levels had a student test positive. We recognize that families may wish to know the identity of the affected individuals so that they can assess their own possibility of exposure.  However, federal privacy laws prevent administration, or the school district, from sharing the name of the person or providing any information that would otherwise lead to the identification of this person.  

We continue to coordinate our efforts with the Skokie Health Department and are following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Health Department, and the Skokie Public Health Department for best practices and procedures to protect everyone’s health.  Building and classroom spaces are already cleaned each evening. The most important things you can do: 

- Make sure your child is wearing a mask.

- Make sure your child is regularly and properly washing their hands. 

- Keep your child home if they are sick or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, which include: fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste/smell.

- Call your primary health care provider if you or your child has symptoms of COVID-19. 

- Notify us of any pending or positive COVID-19 tests, potential exposure to positive COVID-19 cases, or information about COVID-19 procedures.

- Take the vaccine and booster when eligible.

As always, everyone should monitor their health and stay at home if they develop symptoms and contact their health care provider to determine if testing is needed. Anyone who develops severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately. Please consult with our school nurse for additional information about returning to school following an illness or quarantine.

Supporting a safe in-person learning environment remains our top priority at East Prairie. While we are beginning to face challenges with staffing, we will do our best to adapt and provide a high quality and supportive learning environment for our students. We will keep you informed should something change and an adaptive pause and move to remote learning for all students becomes necessary. In the meantime, we will handle each situation on a case by case basis in accordance with health department guidance. 

We will continue to communicate positive cases at East Prairie through our dashboard based on our ongoing collaboration with the Skokie Health Department and their recommendations. We are committed to providing your child and our staff with a safe and healthy environment.  Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures as we work to help protect our students, staff, and community.


Paul Goldberg