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Superintendent’s Message – January 14, 2022

Dear Parents and Students, 

It was great welcoming students back in-person. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to work through transportation and staffing issues.  Good news this week includes students who earned a spot on the honor roll and West teacher Courtney Barrowman receiving the American Geographical Society Awards 2021 Geography Educator GeoBoost Grant.  The Central girls wrestling team made history with its first Girls Wrestling Dual at Central where they beat the Porters 51-30, and the West Boys Bowling Team earned the title of SPC Champions.  

As a reminder, there is no school on Monday, January 17 due to the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  
Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools 
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have released revised public health guidance for schools that is effective immediately.  Recent studies document that, with prevention strategies in place, in-person learning was not associated with higher levels of transmission when compared to communities without in-person learning.  The majority of students need full-time in-person access to their teachers and support network at school to stay engaged, to learn effectively, and to maintain social-emotional wellness. 

Based on this guidance, a summary of who is excluded or not excluded from school if determined a close contact is below. 
Not Excluded/No Quarantine 
* Individuals younger than 18 identified as close contacts who are vaccinated and asymptomatic are not excluded from school.  Note that a booster is not required for individuals younger than 18. 
* Individuals 18 or older identified as close contacts who received all recommended vaccine doses, including the Booster, are not excluded from school as long as they are asymptomatic. 
Excluded/Must Quarantine 
Unvaccinated individuals or individuals 18 and older who have not submitted evidence of full vaccination, including a booster, are excluded from school for 5 calendar days from the date of exposure with the date of exposure being day 0 and a return on day 6.  They must be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever reducing medications and have no COVID symptoms to return.  If unable to wear a mask upon return, the individual must isolate for 10 days. 
Test to Stay Option for Excluded Individuals 
Unless there is a directive from the health department, the district-provided SHIELD testing can be used to keep students and staff in school when identified as a close contact through the Test to Stay protocol. This allows asymptomatic individuals to avoid school exclusion by testing at least twice within seven days after the close contact notification/Test To Stay enrollment, with the last test occurring 5-7 days after last close contact.  As long as all tests are negative, the individual may stay in school.  Unvaccinated close contacts residing in the same household do not have the test to stay option. 
Extra-curricular Activities 
Student athletes and students who participate in higher risk activities can follow the above guidance for returning to in-person instruction; however, they cannot return to these sports or activities until after 10 days.  This has been confirmed with the Local Health Department.   

This announcement does not change the State of Illinois’ mask requirement for anyone inside school buildings or school buses. The indoor mask mandate for schools is still in effect until further notice. 
Proof of Vaccination 
Students or their parents can upload proof of vaccination HERE.  

Take the Illinois 5Essentials Survey--We need your feedback! 
Joliet Township High School has joined the Illinois State Board of Education by administering the Illinois 5Essentials Survey to gather important data about our school climate and learning conditions. This short, research-based survey provides a unique opportunity for students, teachers, and parents to have a voice in improving their schools.  Students take the survey in their English class the week of February 7.  We invite parents and guardians to share their feedback by taking the survey HERE.  Your participation in the parent/guardian portion of the survey will help us understand the conditions at your child’s school and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses are confidential.  The survey closes on March 11. 
Scholarships Available Online – Apply Now 
Seniors should regularly visit our online scholarship board to apply for scholarships.  Scholarships are listed by month according to submission deadlines.  For a complete listing of scholarships, visit the Central Scholarship Board and West Scholarship Board on our website.  More information is HERE. 

JT Booster Club Winter Tailgate Raffle 
You can support Central and West athletics by purchasing a winter tailgate raffle ticket.  Tickets are $20 and prizes include a $500, $300 or $200 Amazon gift card.  To purchase tickets, send the order form and payment to the attention of Tanya Rico at the JTHS Administrative Center, 300 Caterpillar Drive, Joliet IL., 60436. Email with questions. The last day to purchase tickets is January 29.  All proceeds benefit Joliet Central and West athletics.    
Digital Safety Community Webinar Series 
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is hosting a series of digital safety webinars that are open to parents and the community.  Topics include understanding your family’s digital habits, commonly used apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube, preventing unwanted solicitation, and more. For more information, click HERE.   
Joliet East Alumni Night January 14 (Tonight) 
Tonight, January 14, the Joliet Central High School Boys & Girls Varsity Basketball Teams honor Joliet East High School alumni during a doubleheader v. West Aurora. The Varsity Girls play at 5 p.m. with the Varsity Boys game following at 6:30 p.m. Come see our Steelmen in action as they compete in Joliet East jerseys to represent the Kingsmen pride.  More information is HERE.   
Grandparents Raising Children Support Group  
Grandparents and non-custodial caregivers are invited to the next meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18 at the JTHS Administrative Center, 300 Caterpillar Drive in Joliet. Please let Minister Mary E. White know if you are attending by contacting her at (815) 685-6279 or Social distancing and COVID mandates are followed.     

JTHS Board of Education Meeting January 18  
Parents, students, members of our community, and the public are invited to attend Board of Education meetings. The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is January 18 at 7 p.m. Agendas are posted at least 48 hours prior to the meeting and are found HERE. Due to COVID restrictions, the capacity limit for board meetings is 75 visitors. Visitors are admitted to the meeting on a first come basis. Board of Education meetings are live streamed and can be viewed HERE. Masks must be worn at all times while inside JTHS buildings, and visitors must certify that they do not have COVID or COVID-like symptoms. The public may comment during the public comments section on any agenda item or topics related to the district; however, this is not an opportunity for conversation. Visitors must conduct themselves with respect and civility towards others. Individuals wishing to make public comments must sign-up for public comment upon arrival and before 6:50 p.m. on-site at the JTHS Administrative Center.  
Virtual Youth Empowerment Conference 
Students are invited to participate in a virtual youth empowerment conference on February 19 and 20 from 10 to 2 p.m.  The conference theme for this year is "Getting your Future in Gear and Keeping it Lit." February 19/Day 1 of the conference consists of three 30-minute Zoom breakout rooms on various topics including STEAM related content and a panel discussion.  February 20/Day 2 of the conference includes over 22 college representatives and provides students an opportunity to participate in a small group discussion with college representatives. The deadline to register is February 4.  The event is hosted by the Joliet Area/South Suburban Alumnae Chapter (JASSAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.  For more information, including the QR registration code, click HERE. 

West Campus ELL Team Hosts Family Literacy Night February 24  
The West Campus ELL Team invites families to a Literacy Night on Thursday, February 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Joliet West High School.  The event, held in English and Spanish, includes information about the importance of reading in two languages, poetry presentations from students, a book fair, information from local library representatives, and more. Click HERE for more info.  
Save the Date for Parent Teacher Conferences  
Parent Teacher Conferences take place virtually March 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. and March 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  More information is coming soon. 

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