March 9 Letter from Dr. Wade: Navigating the Coronavirus

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NOTE: Superintendent Dr. Nicolas D. Wade sent the following letter to the District 401 community on March 9, 2020. To translate the letter into a foreign language, go to the top right corner of this page where the Google Translate button (titled "Select Language") is located, and choose from the menu of available languages. Links to all of Dr. Wade's letters and other District 401 COVID-19 communications can be found at our Update Center.

To: All Stakeholders of Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401
Re: Navigating the Coronavirus

Since the District last communicated information related to the coronavirus on March 2, there have been a number of developments within the state, nationally and across the world. The coronavirus and its current impact continues to evolve, leading school districts, state and federal entities, and the global community into unchartered territory that has not been seen in modern times. The information and resources come out at the pace and at the discretion of those the District does not oversee. What our District can do is be proactive where it can be, respond appropriately and accordingly, and plan as best as it can for the "what if" scenarios.

The District has been proactive in performing deep cleaning measures and obtaining equipment and supplies that can both allow the District to weather through the current climate and deep clean effectively and in scope. The District has confirmed the cleaning procedures and actions being taken by the transportation companies that service our students.

The District is closely monitoring already approved and planned field trips as well as out-of-state competitions and trips. The District has already put a freeze on any new opportunities related to field trips and out-of-state competitions and trips. For those already approved and planned, the District’s primary concern and interest is the health and safety of the students and staff. Even if the organizing company or host does not cancel the trip or competition in question, the District will take necessary steps if confirmed cases are announced and/or increase in the destination city and/or state.

For sports and other interscholastic activities, if there is a participating school or district at a game or competition who has a confirmed case or is monitoring students or employees who may have come into contact with the coronavirus, the District will consider canceling our own participation to limit our own students' exposure.

If there is a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the District 401 school system or community, school will be canceled for a minimum of one (1) day. If there is a confirmed case in our school system or community, many things will have to be discussed with local, state and federal entities on how best to move forward. If this happens, I will be doing my best to communicate with all stakeholders about how the District will proceed with keeping in mind what is best for the overall health of students, staff and the larger community.

All state and federal health groups maintain that handwashing and maintaining good hygiene are the most proactive ways to limit contact with the virus. Another way to limit contact with the virus is limiting community interaction and travel, and this is the latest development that has been increasingly seen in the news and from state and federal officials. If limiting community interaction includes the closing of schools, this would be a development that would require additional information and specific direction from state and federal agencies and the Illinois State Board of Education. Again, if this happens, I will be doing my best to expeditiously communicate with all stakeholders about how this will impact the District ranging from operations to the school calendar.

If you are feeling ill, please refrain from attending school, working, or attending school or District events. This is another precautionary measure advised by state and federal agencies.

Additional information related to the coronavirus can be found here:

If you have specific questions, concerns or a general commentary, please forward them to me at or 708-583-5831. Again, I will be doing my best to relay substantive information to the stakeholders of Elmwood Park CUSD 401 and will continue to have only the best interest of our students' health and well-being in mind.


Dr. Nicolas D. Wade
Superintendent of Schools

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