November 15, 2020

Dear SJB Families,

I hope that this email finds you warm and healthy on this blustery Sunday evening. I wanted to provide you with an update about St. John the Baptist’s continued decision to remain with in person learning in light of the current situation in DuPage County and the state of Illinois. Please know that I will continue to keep you updated if anything changes.

Our vigilance in our efforts to keep students and staff safe at school has been unwavering. Due to the current increase of positive cases in our area, we made a change to our reopening plan on Friday morning. At this time, only one student may use the restroom at a time (instead of two). This is the best manner in which to ensure social distancing there. Students and staff adapted quickly to this change. Flexibility is definitely key to keeping everyone safe. Additionally, all were reminded of the importance of following our staggered use of lockers as well as maintaining air flow in the classrooms by keeping windows open, if only a small crack. An increase in sanitizing high touch areas will also be made.

As you may be aware, Governor Pritzker recently announced additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies in many counties within Illinois including our region. It affects bars, restaurants, meetings, social events and gatherings, and organized group recreational activities. However, please note that the Tier 2 mitigations do not apply to schools, but does impact our students’ families’ and staff‘s lives and behaviors outside of school. I continue to be in contact with the Catholic Schools Office and our local health department to stay abreast of the situation. We do not anticipate making a change to remote learning at this time. Although positivity rates are on the rise, they do not appear to be traced back to schools. Gratefully, to date, we have just had one individual test positive, which was deemed low risk by the DuPage Health Department and thankfully did not spread. Thank you for continuing to let me know if a family member tests positive or if your child has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive so that we can make the best decisions for the benefit of all while awaiting test results. SJB remains a safe place for your children.

However, we are concerned with the situation in our area and are aware that our time together with in person learning could change abruptly. As you know we have worked hard to keep all of us at school. I dread the thought of having to inform you that we will need to go to remote learning. Thankfully because of our low positivity rate and the fact that we are currently able to make a local decision, one that best fits the needs of our school community, teaching and learning will remain at school for as long as possible.

As I shared on November 7, at this time there is no need to plan an adaptive pause after Thanksgiving or Christmas breaks as other dioceses and Catholic schools are doing at this time. If circumstances change, I will be sure to let you know as soon as possible. I do ask that you are mindful of the Tier 2 Mitigation requirements. By following these temporary restrictions, the long term effects of the health and welfare of our SJB family and our desire to learn while at school will be preserved. Illinois Department of Public Health has issued new guidance urging that we leave home only for essential activities and stay home for the next three weeks. (Going to school is considered essential!) Additionally, the IDPH discourages non-essential travel to other states and international locations and discourages group sizes greater than four for ages 12-17 from congregating outside of school.

As we look forward to and anticipate the joy that the upcoming holidays bring, I request that you take every precaution to keep your families safe during the holidays. By doing so, you will increase our chances of being able to continue in person learning at SJB. While the holidays will look very different this year, we pray that they are meaningful and special and the beauty of the holidays are seen and felt by everyone. The IDPH has also provided holiday guidance which shares suggestions for celebrating them safely this year and they are included for your reference.

In closing, as I shared previously, thank you for all you do to help keep everyone learning at St. John the Baptist School. Our top priority is keeping everyone healthy and safe and remaining in the best possible learning environment –at school. Please don’t let your family’s actions during the holidays prevent us from our goal of being together at school.

With sincerity,

Joanne