The following communication was sent to parent emails on Wednesday, July 29.
Dear JTHS Families,
At Joliet Township High School, above all, the safety of our students and staff will always come first. The last week, and this weekend, were extremely difficult for me as I watched the number of COVID-19 cases consistently rise in our region.
I have continued to watch the metrics for COVID positivity rates for the State as well as our region. IDPH has a three day lag time, but as of tonight, there were 7 Days of Positivity Increases in the previous 10 days and the 7-day rolling average is 6.2% for our region. Not only is this getting closer to that 8% threshold that the IDPH established, our region was at 4.4% on July 14. This is a large increase in a short period of time. Additionally, surrounding regions have increases in their positivity rates.
Due to this upward trend in cases, tonight the Joliet Township High School Board of Education voted to begin the 2020-2021 school year remotely with no in-person instruction for the first six weeks of school. When the school year begins, every six weeks, the decision to deliver instruction remotely will be evaluated based on the IDPH data that is available and on the district’s ability to implement safety guidelines. When it is safe, we will resume in-person instruction following the re-opening plan that we previously shared with you. View the Remote Learning Schedule and Information
I want to acknowledge that many of our students and parents did not have a pleasant experience with remote learning when our school buildings abruptly closed on March 17. This was a crisis situation and we had no time to prepare. I want you to know that the remote learning you experienced at the end of the school year will not be the same as what we have planned for the fall. We have been planning since the 2019-2020 school year ended to make sure we can provide effective remote instruction. Attendance will be recorded for each class period, and teachers will deliver instruction online with engaging assignments and projects. There will be built-in office hours for tutoring and extra help. We have purchased additional learning platforms and a new student management system that will allow parents to easily access grades, attendance data, assignment details, student schedules and more. Teachers are participating in professional development so that they have the very best instructional practices to deliver content online. JTHS has amazing staff and they will serve our students in the best way possible during this situation.
As the superintendent and as a parent, I know the remote start to the school year will be heartbreaking for many; however, I cannot risk the safety of our students and staff. I know that there is no right answer in this situation, but I believe that beginning the school year remotely is the best answer for our current circumstances.
There are a lot of unanswered questions related to the start of the school year. The COVID-19 pandemic is a situation we have not encountered before and information is changing rapidly. We will continue to communicate information as it becomes available. This includes information related to schedules, computer pickup, and other pertinent information. Email and text messaging remain our primary modes of communication. If you are not receiving our emails, please complete the Information Update Form. To receive text messages, you must opt in by texting “Yes” to 67587.
I thank our families for their patience during this time of uncertainty. We will get through this together.
Your Partner in Education,
Dr. Karla Guseman