Gower District News

July 10, 2020: Transitioning Back to School – Update

July 10, 2020: Transitioning Back to School – Update


First, it is important that each of you know how much we appreciate your patience and support as our Transition to In-Person Instruction Committee continues to shape our approach to the start of the 2020-21 school year. We know there is a high level of angst and uncertainty in our community, and we realize that it doesn’t take a whole lot of news coverage or social media to see how the debate around opening schools has heated up nationally. 


This update is to simply let you know that planning for an effective start to the 2020-21 school year is our top priority. You can expect a weekly series of Return to School Community Updates to begin next week Thursday and continue through the start of the school year. I expect the Parent Tips and Recommendations document as well as the Transportation Needs Survey previously referenced to be included as part of this series along with other opportunities for parent feedback. We have the opportunity to share six (6) Weekly Updates prior to our first day of school and will be sure to make effective use of them. If the need arises to share additional updates, we certainly will. We know how important communication is and are fully committed to keeping you up to date as we continue to prepare.


As stated in the June 25th Community Update, the Joint Guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Dept. of Public Health is clear that in-person instruction is strongly encouraged and allowed in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. This does not mean that we are being forced to open school. This means that the state public health officials have provided specific guidelines for us to follow in order to maintain a safe environment for our children to learn. We expect to reopen school on August 21st with the following guidelines in place: 


  1. Prohibiting more than 50 people from gathering in one space, including buses;
  2. Requiring students, staff, and limited visitors to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings while indoors and outside when social distancing is not maintained:
  3. Requiring social distancing be observed as much as possible by rearranging our classrooms and managing hallway/common space traffic;
  4. Requiring our parents to certify that their child is free of Covid-19 symptoms before entering school;
  5. Carrying out enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures


We will continue to provide more details in our Return to School Community Updates and will continue to pay close attention to the state guidelines and public health data as we prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year. In the meantime, you may find this Frequently Asked Questions document helpful. You will notice that it has been revised three times since it was published on June 25th which demonstrates the pace of change we are dealing with.


We are facing a major challenge together and it is not our first time tackling a community-wide issue. For those that remember the ethylene oxide issue that took over 13 months to resolve, you might recall the importance of the phrase – Community Problems Require Community Solutions. I believe the same approach applies here. Please keep an eye out for our Return to School Community Updates and please continue to to contact me or either of our school offices if you have any specific questions or concerns.


With the new Gower Greeting,

Victor Simon III


Superintendent of Schools


Web Resources:

PDF Copy: Transitioning Back to School Update – July 10, 2020