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FSD79 COVID-19 Updates

July 29, 2020

FSD79 Extended eLearning Parent Informational Meeting

As previously shared, all parents are invited to attend a virtual parent informational meeting, which will focus on our Extended eLearning Procedures. The meeting will take place on Monday, August 3, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. It will be a webinar structure through Zoom, which will allow attendees to hear about the recent changes to our eLearning program and to submit questions. The panelists will include district-level and building-level administrators.

 The following link will provide you access to the meeting:

https://fsd79.zoom.us/j/83324218177?pwd=UDRWUzJKcGJweHdvNnhWY3JNK0E0Zz09 

 In addition to this informational meeting, we also will be hosting virtual meetings for parents to meet with school principals to ask questions related to specific schools. These meetings also will focus on our Extended eLearning Procedures and the specific implementation of these procedures in each respective school. They will be held on the following dates: 

  • Fremont Middle School - Thursday, August 6, 6:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln Early Learning Center - Monday, August 10, 6:30 p.m.
  • Fremont Elementary School - Tuesday, August 11, 6:30 p.m.
  • Fremont Intermediate School - Wednesday, August 12, 6:30 p.m.

 Zoom meeting links for these meetings will be shared via email. Thank you and we look forward to connecting with you through these events.

 


July 23, 2020

FSD79 Extended eLearning Procedures

As previously shared, FSD79 has made the difficult decision to start the 2020-2021 school year entirely remotely and will participate in eLearning for all students until at least the end of the first trimester, which concludes on November 11. By no later than October 26, we will inform parents of our intended plan for the second trimester. 

The District has had the opportunity to make improvements to our eLearning procedures based upon our experiences, guidance from various sources, and feedback from our parents. These improvements have resulted in the generation of our FSD79 Extended eLearning Procedures.

A major difference between our original eLearning procedures, introduced in the fall of 2019, and these extended eLearning procedures is the significant emphasis placed on synchronous learning (teacher interacts with students in real time). Some of the biggest changes are the following:

  • A daily class “bell schedule” that will be followed by all students,
  • Teachers will begin each class period or content area transition with a synchronous experience,
  • Teachers will livestream relevant components of lessons during the period, 
  • Updated attendance practices,
  • Updated grading practices, and
  • Revised posting expectations for lessons and assignments. 

The following is a revised timeline of events that will lead us up to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. These events include: 

  • Thursday, July 30 - Extended eLearning FAQ will be released.
  • Monday, August 3 - Virtual Parent Informational Meeting (6:30 p.m.).
  • Monday, August 10 - Class schedules will be released.

The FSD79 Extended eLearning Procedures, as well as the Quick Guide can also be accessed by clicking here. After thoroughly reading these procedures, we encourage parents and guardians who have unanswered questions to please fill out this form. Answers to the submitted questions will be answered via the forthcoming FAQ document that will be disseminated on Thursday, July 30.

 


July 22, 2020

FSD79 To Start School Year in eLearning

The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority at Fremont School District 79. Given this priority, out of an abundance of caution, FSD79 has made the difficult decision to alter its plans for the 2020-2021 school year. The 2020-2021 school year will begin with eLearning for all students until at least the end of the first trimester, which concludes on November 11. The decision to change to eLearning was not an easy one, but after continuing to listen to input from staff and parents, we have determined that eLearning is the safest option for everyone. If at any time, the health and safety conditions allow us to transition to a hybrid instruction model or a full in-person instruction model, we are prepared to do so quickly and effectively. By no later than October 26, we will inform parents of our intended plan for the second trimester.    

When our eLearning procedures were originally introduced this past fall, they were intended to be used on an occasional snow day or other emergency basis. No one could have anticipated a pandemic that would transform our lives and force us to use eLearning days for months on end. We are aware of the challenges that eLearning presents for our families. The District has had the opportunity to make improvements to our eLearning procedures based upon our experiences, guidance from various sources, and feedback from our staff and parents.

FSD79 is committed to providing a synchronous (teacher interacts with students in real time) eLearning environment when school resumes in August. Improvements to our eLearning procedures include: a daily class “bell schedule” that will be followed by all teachers and students, teachers will begin each class period or content area transition with a synchronous experience, and teachers will also livestream relevant components of lessons during the class period. In addition to the aforementioned updates to synchronous learning, the improved eLearning procedures will also detail updated attendance practices, grading practices, and posting expectations for lessons and assignments. Students will receive the individual support and resources they need to promote growth and make academic gains to meet or exceed grade-level learning standards. 

More specific information regarding these updated eLearning procedures is forthcoming. We are dedicated to providing the best possible eLearning program. The previously scheduled dates for FAQs and virtual parent informational meetings will be rescheduled and those new dates will be released at the same time the updated eLearning procedures are shared.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate through these challenging times together.

 


July 20, 2020

FSD79 Return to School Plan

We miss our students and staff. We long for a return to normalcy. We know that, above all, we must keep our students, staff, and school community safe.

As we prepare for the upcoming academic year, we have been charged with an unprecedented task that parallels nothing we have seen before in education, or hopefully will ever see again. Throughout the development of our FSD79 Return to School Plan, the number one priority has been to maintain a safe environment for our school community.

This Return to School Plan is not perfect. This plan likely will need to be updated as we continue to learn more. This plan will be welcomed by some families and will not be embraced by others. We do hope that all families understand that this plan was developed with great care, compassion, and with a priority on keeping the students and adults in our school community safe. We all are doing the best we can during these extraordinary times.

Fremont School District 79 will begin the 2020-2021 academic year by implementing a hybrid instruction model. This model was built with a focus on pursuing in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible, while also integrating the safety guidelines provided by the State. Families who are not comfortable with the hybrid instruction model will have the option for their child(ren) to instead participate in daily eLearning at home. All families will be asked to register their child(ren) for either hybrid instruction or eLearning instruction when the student intake survey is released on Tuesday, July 21.

The decision to integrate the hybrid instruction model was made after studying joint guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), analyzing responses from our parent survey, incorporating feedback from our staff Return to School Committee, and studying the latest research and literature on this topic.

The 2020-2021 academic year will not be business as usual. Some of the biggest changes we will see upon our return are the following: 

  • Face masks will be required for all individuals in the school buildings, at all times;
  • Social distancing of 6 feet will be required;
  • Students will participate in a combination of in-person and eLearning instruction;
  • Families will have the option for their child(ren) to participate in full-time eLearning;
  • A greater emphasis will be placed on synchronous instruction;
  • Students and staff will be required to stay home if they are sick; and
  • Temperature, symptom, and exposure screening will take place prior to anyone entering the buildings each day.

Ultimately, the FSD79 Return to School Plan consists of three possible scenarios: hybrid instruction, eLearning instruction, and in-person instruction. It is important to note that the District could transition back and forth between scenarios if there is a resurgence of the virus or a second wave. This plan is subject to ongoing change based on emerging information and guidance from our state and federal organizations.

Families may be wondering why all students are not returning to full in-person instruction. FSD79 would embrace the return of all students, but it is not possible in our current environment. ISBE has encouraged school districts to provide completely in-person instruction for all students, provided that the school district is able to comply with capacity limits and implement social distancing measures. Our District simply would be unable to adhere to the ISBE/IDPH guidelines if we implemented full in-person instruction, including adherence to safety protocols related to: six-foot social distancing, transportation logistics, screening all individuals when entering buildings, providing meals to small groups, promoting safe hallways and communal spaces, and much more. In the event schools and districts cannot implement full in-person instruction, ISBE provides school districts the option of utilizing a hybrid instruction model of in-person and remote/eLearning instruction.

The following is a timeline of events that will lead us up to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. These events are designed in an effort to inform, communicate, prepare, and implement the FSD79 Return to School Plan. These events include: 

  • Tuesday, July 21 - Student Intake/Needs Assessment Survey sent to families.
  • Monday, July 27 - Return to School FAQ will be released.
  • Virtual Parent Informational Meetings (6:30 p.m. for all): UPDATE: the Extended eLearning parent informational meeting for all schools will be held Monday, August 3.
    • Monday, August 3 - Lincoln Early Learning Center;
    • Tuesday, August 4 - Fremont Elementary School;
    • Wednesday, August 5 - Fremont Intermediate School; and
    • Thursday, August 6 - Fremont Middle School.
  • Monday, August 10  - Class schedules will be released (tentative).

We understand that a variety of different plans are being developed by school districts across Chicagoland and the State and that they all look different, focusing on each district’s unique needs, capacities, and resources. FSD79 is unwavering in the promotion of a safe learning environment in all of our schools.

The entire Return to School Plan, as well as the Quick Guide can be accessed by clicking here.  After thoroughly reading the Return to School Plan, we encourage parents and guardians who have unanswered questions to please fill out this form, which will be directed to the appropriate school administrator.

 


July 14, 2020

FSD79 Return to School Plan Update

We would like to provide an update regarding the status of the Fremont School District 79 Return to School Plan. As you know, our FSD79 Return to School Committee and administrators have been working diligently to ensure that our Return to School Plan encompasses the State guidance, as well as the parent survey feedback. 

We are pleased to share that we will be able to release our plan earlier than anticipated as we are nearing completion of the final plan. Specifically, we will release the FSD79 Return to School Plan on Monday, July 20. It will be sent to all parents via email and will be posted on the District website on that date. When the plan is shared via email, there will be more specific details communicated at that time, including: a link to a form to submit questions, timeline for publication of a follow-up Q&A document in response to submitted questions, virtual meeting dates for parents to interact with building principals, etc. There also will be a second parent survey disseminated to ask some questions specifically related to each student and their needs as we embark upon the new school year.   

We also would like to share that we are working to integrate in-person instruction to the greatest extent safely possible, while following the State safety guidelines. We also will be able to provide families the option for full-time eLearning instruction if that is the model that parents feel best meets the needs of their child(ren). More details on both of these scenarios will be detailed in the plan.

Please note that guidance for school districts keeps changing and evolving on an ongoing basis. While we have captured all of the current guidance, to the extent that any potential forthcoming changes have an impact on our Return to School Plan, we may need to implement revisions. In the event of any revisions, they will be communicated with parents in a timely fashion.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have been working to finalize a plan as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we are encompassing the various State guidance, as well as the parent survey feedback.

 


June 23, 2020

FSD79 Return to School Plan Update

Today, the Illinois State Board of Education released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year. 

This 60-page document has been much anticipated and will go a long way toward answering critical questions all of us share about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing masks, social distancing, and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.  

Right now, we don’t have all the answers to those questions as this document was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as we thoroughly review this detailed guidance and work with our Return to School Committee to integrate the suggestions into our District’s own Return to School Plan. We will also be reviewing, and working to integrate, feedback from the parent survey.

Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as our entire District continues to navigate a situation together that none of us could have imagined.

 


May 19, 2020

FSD79 Return to School Plan 2020-21

Fremont School District 79 would like to provide an update as to our proactive planning for the 2020-2021 school year in anticipation of different possibilities once we receive further direction from the State of Illinois. We are actively working on a comprehensive Return to School Plan for the 2020-2021 school year, which will encompass three possible scenarios. The following are the three possible scenarios, which will be addressed more thoroughly in the Plan: 

  1. In-person learning with schools reopened;
  2. eLearning with schools not reopened; or
  3. a hybrid of in-person and eLearning.

 We understand that there likely will be many questions regarding next school year. We anticipate releasing this comprehensive Plan in mid-June, which is intended to address those questions and considerations. This thorough plan will be based upon the most up-to-date research, best practices, and collaborative efforts. There are multiple variables and guidance that the District will need to consider, including further direction from the State. We will share the Plan, along with any other pertinent updates, once it becomes available. Thank you.

 


April 17, 2020

FSD79 Physical Schools Closed Through Remainder of 2019-2020 School Year

Today, the Governor announced that all physical schools in the State of Illinois will be closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, Fremont School District 79’s physical schools and buildings will continue to be closed through the remainder of the school year. We will continue with our eLearning process during this time. We will continue to keep families updated on a timely basis of any pertinent developments, including plans for summer school. Thank you.

 


March 31, 2020

FSD79 Mandated School Closure Extended

Today, the Governor announced the issuance of an extension of the “Stay-At-Home” order for the State of Illinois, as well as an extension of the mandatory school closure order. These will continue through April 30. As a result, Fremont School District 79’s physical schools and buildings will continue to be closed through April 30. We will have an anticipated reopen date of May 1. We will continue with our eLearning process during this time.

We will continue to keep families updated on a timely basis of any pertinent developments. Thank you.

 


March 20, 2020

FSD79 Mandated School Closure Extended

In our continuing commitment to provide the latest updates as it relates to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Fremont School District 79’s physical schools and buildings will continue to be closed through April 7 due to the extension of the mandated school closure order issued by the Governor today. We will have an anticipated reopen date of April 8. 

FSD79 still will be observing Spring Break from March 23 through March 27 before resuming eLearning activities on Monday, March 30.

Today’s announcement from the Governor also included a “Stay-At-Home” order for the State of Illinois, which will begin Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. and will continue through Tuesday, April 7. During this time, Illinois residents are still permitted to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, go on walks, etc.

We will continue to keep families updated on a timely basis of any pertinent developments. Thank you.

 


March 17, 2020

Student Grades During Mandated Closures - Update

Fremont School District 79 would like to share a development that was communicated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today. As we know, the previous direction from ISBE was that school districts were not permitted to assign grades to any student work during any of the mandated closure dates (Act of God days) issued by the Governor. Today, that direction from ISBE was revised as follows: “Student work completed during the mandated statewide school closure must not negatively impact a student’s grades or otherwise impact a student’s academic standing. As we do not yet know the full extent of the closure and want to minimize any negative effects on students, schools may allow student work to count during the closure only to increase a student’s academic standing.”

We appreciate your continued flexibility as we work promptly to adhere to ongoing developments and changing requirements. Please feel free to contact classroom teachers with any specific questions.

 


 

March 16, 2020

Act of God and eLearning Days

As previously shared by Fremont School District 79, our physical schools and buildings are now closed and will remain closed until our anticipated reopen date of Monday, April 6. During this time, we are implementing eLearning activities from March 16-20 and March 30-April 3.  

As we know, the Governor issued mandatory school closure dates beginning March 17 with a reopen date of March 31. Per the State of Illinois, these are considered Act of God days, which do not count as actual school days since they are forgiven on the school calendar. School districts are encouraged to ensure continuous learning during these days. 

Currently, Act of God days are days that are forgiven on the school calendar and are not required to be made up at any time. eLearning days are remote learning days that are declared by a school district and count as an actual school day; therefore, student assignments can also be graded. While eLearning can take place as a method for learning on an Act of God day, the two types of days are technically defined independent of one another. 

FSD79 will be promoting student learning through the duration of our closure by utilizing our eLearning procedures. However, no official grades for student work can be issued during the Act of God days. While no grades will be issued on Act of God days, our focus on promoting meaningful, engaging, and authentic student learning will not be sacrificed. We encourage all of our families to do their best to reinforce the learning experiences we are providing, whether it is an official “eLearning” day (March 16 and March 31 to April 3) or an official “Act of God” day (March 17-March 30).

 


 

March 13, 2020

FSD79 Physical Schools and Buildings Closed Beginning March 16

In our continuing efforts to safeguard the health and wellness of our students, staff, and the community, after collaboration with other area school districts and considering the recommendations of public health officials regarding limiting the gathering of large groups, Fremont School District 79 will be closing all of its physical schools and buildings beginning Monday, March 16. We have an anticipated reopen date of Monday, April 6. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution and as a precautionary measure to limit the potential spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness in our community.

In lieu of onsite classes, we will be implementing eLearning activities beginning Monday, March 16, which will adhere to our published eLearning procedures. These eLearning activities will take place from March 16-20, as well as from March 30-April 3. There will not be any eLearning days during our scheduled Spring Break (March 23-27). We will make sure students bring home all their devices, chargers, and any materials they will need to complete assignments. These eLearning days will not require additional school days to be added to the school calendar in June. 

As previously noted, all scheduled before-school and after-school activities, as well as field trips, concerts, and facility rentals are cancelled until further notice.

If your family is planning on taking a trip to a Level 2 or Level 3 country, we ask that you please contact your school’s principal to communicate your plans. For the safety of everyone, we request that you please adhere to the CDC’s guidance related to travel. To view an interactive map that shows current global travel advisory levels, please visit the following Department of State website.

In the meantime, we would like to provide a reminder of these basic steps that everyone should be taking to minimize the spread of illnesses:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We are committed to following the recommendations of our public health officials and doing our part in taking preventative measures to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. The decision to close our physical schools and buildings is not one we are making lightly. We understand this may cause challenges for some families; however, we believe this decision is in the best interest of our school community at this time. We will continue to keep parents informed throughout this process. As always, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and the community remains our top priority.

For the latest information on the Coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websiteIllinois Department of Public Health website, and the Lake County Health Department website.

 


 

March 12, 2020 

FSD79 Cancellations

After thorough review and consideration, while schools will remain open and all classes will continue as scheduled at this time, Fremont School District 79 will be implementing the following cancellations as a proactive precaution to mitigate the risk of any potential exposure to the Coronavirus until further notice, but until at least March 30, 2020, effective immediately: 

  • Visitors from outside groups/organizations;
  • Volunteers in schools;
  • Field trips;
  • All concerts;
  • All before-school and after-school activities; and
  • All facility rentals.

 These cancellations involving FSD79 students will apply to both “home” and “away” events. No cancellation determinations have been made regarding field trips to Camp Duncan, Springfield, and Washington, D.C. at this time. In the event that any of those specific field trips will be cancelled, additional communication will be made. 

Right at School is the only before-school and after-school program that will not be cancelled at this time. 

As we continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus, please know that we are in regular consultation with experts in infectious disease and in contact with other school districts. We make decisions based upon what is best for our students, employees, and the larger community. In the event that we need to close schools, we will proceed with our eLearning procedures and parents will be notified. For now, no decision has been made to close schools. As this Coronavirus is spreading quickly, that decision could change quickly, as well.

We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we implement these proactive precautions. Thank you.

 


 

March 10, 2020

FSD79 Coronavirus Update

Fremont School District 79 remains committed to providing regular updates as it relates to the spread of the Coronavirus disease and how it impacts our schools. 

Surface Protectant Application

As mentioned in an email last Wednesday that also was posted on the District’s website, FSD79 proceeded with the application of a microbiostatic surface protectant last weekend throughout all of its schools and buildings, as well as on all of its school buses. This safe, colorless, and odorless application will complement all of FSD79’s current disinfection practices.

Spring Break

As we all know, spring break is right around the corner and many families may have scheduled upcoming trips during this time. If your family is planning on taking a trip to a Level 2 or Level 3 country, we ask that you please contact your school’s principal to communicate your plans. For the safety of everyone, we request that you please adhere to the CDC’s guidance related to travel. To view an interactive map that shows current global travel advisory levels, please visit the following Department of State website.

We will continue to follow the guidance and direct recommendations of the Lake County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control when considering any cancellations.

In the meantime, we would like to remind you of these basic steps that everyone should be taking to minimize the spread of this and any respiratory illness:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

As always, the safety and well-being of our students, teachers, and staff, remains our top priority. Thank you for your continued help in assisting with this process.

 


 

March 4, 2020

FSD79 Surface Protectant Application

As a follow-up to Fremont School District 79’s statement on the Coronavirus disease that was included in the February 28, 2020 e-newsletter, as well as posted on the District’s website, FSD79 is implementing an additional proactive approach to best prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

This week, FSD79 will be applying a microbiostatic surface protectant throughout all of its schools and buildings, as well as on all of its school buses. This EPA-registered and USDA-accepted surface protection will greatly enhance all of FSD79’s current disinfection practices.

Pathogens are drawn to the protectant on the treated surface and impaled on microscopic spikes, which rupture the cell membrane and ultimately eliminate the possibility of any adaptive organisms. Each application of the product leaves the treated surface protected from viruses and bacteria for up to 90 days and can be reapplied as needed thereafter.

The safety and well-being of our students, teachers, and staff is of utmost importance. We are pleased to take this proactive measure in order to best protect everyone’s health. For the latest updates on the Coronavirus or the flu, please visit the CDC websiteIDPH website, and the LCHD website.

 


 

Feb. 28, 2020

Statement on Coronavirus Disease

Fremont School District 79 is continuing to closely monitor the status of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of February 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has indicated that there has been only two positive (confirmed) cases in Illinois and has not recommended cancelling classes or mass gatherings. As we know, the situation continues to evolve and recommendations are subject to change. 

It is important to note that, according to the IDPH, there are other respiratory viruses like influenza currently circulating in Illinois. Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing are symptoms associated with all of them. Therefore, anyone exhibiting these symptoms should not be assumed to have the Coronavirus. If your student, or anyone in your family, develops such symptoms, please contact your medical provider immediately.

You and your family can take the following best-practice safety precautions to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Our nurses will remain vigilant in monitoring our students, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms that may be associated with the Coronavirus. Our District is in contact with the Lake County Health Department (LCHD) to receive the latest information. According to the LCHD, they continue to work with related federal, state, and local agencies to monitor the Coronavirus and share critical information among those agencies. 

Should the Coronavirus develop in our area, we will follow the direction of the Lake County Health Department (LCHD), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the extreme event of a necessary school closing, FSD79 will utilize our eLearning Plan.

We will continue to share important information with parents as it becomes available. In the meantime, here are links for more information on the Coronavirus outbreak:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Information

Illinois Department of Public Health Information

Lake County Health Department Information