July 16, 2020: Return to School Community Update
This is a challenging time for many. Large urban, and in some cases, suburban school districts both near and far are making announcements about a fully remote return to school. Others are announcing a full in-person return. Some are having a public debate with their local unions. Others are battling this out in the social media arena. It must be stated that what is being shared today is subject to change as public health guidance and conditions may change.
Last week, I stated that we would share our Return to School and Reopening Plan. Our plan meets the expectations listed in the recent statement from the Illinois Education Association, the state’s largest education employee’s organization and affiliate of our local Teacher Association (GEA). Our plan follows the State Guidance for the reopening of schools and represents a culmination of effort from many. Our Transition to In-Person Learning Committee, our Administrative Team, Board of Education members, Local Union leaders, Parent Preview & Focus Group, among others, have helped us build and sharpen a flexible plan that serves a diverse community as we continue to prepare for a Smart Start to the 2020-21 school year.
We know how important it is to understand the needs of each of our Gower families; including those that reside in Willowbrook and Burr Ridge, as well as our staff, that come from all parts of the greater Chicagoland area and are proud to serve the Gower Community. The balancing act of meeting such a wide variety of needs is not an easy one. But it is necessary to recognize – especially given the current climate around reopening schools – that it is our intent to make the best decision on behalf of many.
Some of our families have expressed concerns that may require remote access to our eLearning Plan. Others have expressed that they are running out of options and they need their child to return to school and receive in-person services that they depend on. This is precisely why we are asking parents to review the plan, including the Smart Start revisions to the school calendar, and complete the Return to School Parent Preference Survey for each of their children enrolled in Gower School District.
Indicating your preference today does not mean that it is a final decision. It is an indication of your child’s current needs and will help us plan in the weeks to come. This survey will remain open through August 7th to allow parents to change their preference as more details are shared in each of the remaining weeks before the start of the school year. This approach honors and empowers each of our families to make a decision that best suits their needs. We recognize that this situation is ever-changing and know that the needs of each member of your family may be different. We are committed to providing a solution that helps bring our district motto to life – Children at their Best!
We ask that you complete the survey as soon as you are comfortable doing so and continue to keep an eye out for our Return to School Community Updates as well as our Gower West and Gower Middle school newsletters. Future updates are expected to include even greater details about our In-Person and eLearning Plans, Parent Tips and Recommendations, logistical details, and other important information.
With the new Gower Greeting,
Victor Simon III
Superintendent of Schools
- Illinois State Board of Education – Covid-19 Updates and Resources
- Illinois Department of Public Health – Covid-19 Updates and Resources
- DuPage County Health Department – Covid-19 Updates and Resources