Letter from Dr. Gauthier: Update on Changes in Health Guidance

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NOTE: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Leah Gauthier sent the following letter to the District 401 community on March 19, 2021. To translate the letter into a language of your choice, go to the top right corner of this page where the Google Translate button ("Select Language") is located, and choose from the menu of available languages. Links to all of District 401's hybrid and remote communications can be found at our Learning Update Center.

To: Elmwood Park CUSD 401 Stakeholders
Re: Stakeholders Update

Last week the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released joint guidance to support the reopening of schools. The updated guidance focuses on the mitigation strategies that we have followed since opening our doors to our students and staff.

These strategies include the following:

  • Require universal and correct use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks;
  • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
  • Require contact tracing in combination with isolation of those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and quarantine of close contacts, in collaboration with the local health department;
  • Require an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection and maintenance of healthy environments; and
  • Require promotion and adherence to handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

Changes released in the joint guidance will allow us to start to transition toward a pre-pandemic environment. These changes will be implemented starting on April 6, 2021, when we begin our new schedule of a longer duration in the buildings. The changes include:

  • No longer symptom screening upon arrival (removal of a temperature screener), we will continue with Crisis Go, which is still required.
  • Social distancing is now defined as 3 to 6 feet for students and fully vaccinated staff.
  • Capacity limits have changed from 50 per space to the space’s ability to accommodate social distancing (3 to 6 feet).
  • Schools are required to offer a remote option to families of students who are at increased risk of severe illness or who live with people at increased risk — for this school year we will continue to offer remote as an option for any family that chooses. We will implement this guidance as we plan for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Districts and schools are encouraged to request testing and quarantine from any students returning from travel.
  • To review all of the travel guidelines, please visit Travel Guidance Spring 2021.

It is exciting to learn about the updated guidance that allows us to safely keep our doors open and offer more to our community. It is truly a team effort and I thank each of you for your support and collaboration during this time.

As always, updated information is located on our website's Learning Update Center page.


Dr. Leah Gauthier
Superintendent of Schools

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