August 20, 2020: Return to School – Update – THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL IS TOMORROW
The finishing touches are behind us and our staff are ready for the first day of school tomorrow. I am proud of them. The eagerness is palpable. Despite the challenges that we have faced and the challenges that we might face moving forward, our focus has not changed – meeting the educational needs of our community.
Day 1 will not be perfect. Day 2 will be better. Be patient with us. If a bus is a bit behind schedule, it will be okay. If a link doesn’t work or a virtual connection, we will figure it out and be here to help. And if the parent drop-off takes a bit longer and is full of nervous energy, that’s because it probably is. And that too, is okay. This school year will be different. We have known that for months now. When I use the phrase, ‘Community Problems Require Community Solutions’, it is out of great respect for the Gower Community and the sense of ‘community’ at large.
A community is built to lift each other up; not tear each other down. Our default simply has to be finding a way to help and make things better; not to criticize and jeer from afar. These last six months have been difficult for many. Those directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and those trying to pick up the pieces and reassemble a sense of normalcy. Our residents of Burr Ridge may be familiar with the slogan, “The Cure is US”, as promoted by our village. I believe it captures the spirit of how we see ‘Community’ in Gower and the importance of pulling together to move forward.
Yes, we have concerns. Yes the guidelines from IDPH and ISBE are updated often. And yes, they are difficult to keep up with. But it can be done. Local doctors and nurses have reached out to us with tips for months. They have reminded us about an important perspective from the front line: that by following the safety guidelines in place we can remain safe. To be clear, opening tomorrow does not mean that we will remain open all year. And it does not mean that a full-day schedule is guaranteed on Sept. 8th. Our previous Community Updates have covered this. IF there is a positive COVID-19 case in our school, we will initiate contact with the Local Health Department (that process has been tested and works), communicate with our families, and provide notification to anyone that may need to isolate or quarantine as a result. If it is determined that a temporary school closure, or an ‘adaptive pause’, is required to complete contact tracing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting, then we will absolutely do so. And if the conditions call for ‘pivoting’ to a fully remote eLearning environment for the long term, we stand ready.
I realize that any COVID-19 related closure from this point forward will cause great difficulty for many. But the reality is that it may occur. And if so, we will deal with it the same way we have dealt with the updated guidance that was published today, last week, and the week before that. We will be deliberate and thoughtful. We will communicate with you directly. We will respond – not react – with the best interests of our students and staff in mind.
We work in the world of maybes and mights. We plan, and often hope for, the what ifs. We focus on the potential of each student – their dreams, their growth, their future. We see our students becoming successful adults from the very first day they walk into our school from the ages of 3 to 14. We stay the course to provide a safe, caring, and positive experience for every student that we teach. There are bumps along the way for every – single – one of them. We guide them, encourage them, and help them identify and overcome challenges. We are vigilant and we advocate for our students. Why? Because it matters. Because we love what we do. Because we are passionate about our work. And because we understand that the road less traveled, although difficult, may be the best course. We are Teachers!
- Stay home if you are sick & be mindful of the 3W’s – Wash hands. Wear a mask. Watch distance.
- Your child will need the DAY ONE Student Entry Card to ride a bus or enter school on the first day
- If your child is starting the year as an eLearner, use the DAY ONE login information sent home
- Be sure to visit our Return to School webpage for reference materials related to our reopening plan
- Public health conditions and guidance may change and could cause a change to our plan
With the Gower Greeting,
Victor Simon III
Superintendent of Schools