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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Dr. Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent

March 26, 2020

Physical Distancing...Please!

Good afternoon, 

I try not to use this platform unless I feel it's absolutely necessary, but I want to make a plea for physical distancing throughout our District 127 community. Throughout this message, I’ll use the term “physical distancing” versus “social distancing.” We need to stay away from each other physically, but we still need to connect socially, right? 

At this time, it may appear that Lake County, Illinois is not a hotbed of COVID-19 activity. The problem is that we just don’t know. We do not have widespread testing, so we don’t have a clear view of the extent of the infection in our vicinity. In addition, because of the lack of testing and the fact that coronavirus carriers may not always show symptoms, we won’t know for another two to three weeks if we are spreading the infection today.

Yet, looking at what's happening in New York City, Italy, and elsewhere, we see how serious the COVID-19 situation can get. Of course, we are a very different community than New York or Milan, but one of the lessons emerging from all of this is that physical distancing is absolutely crucial to slowing the spread of this virus. Students, as hard as it may seem, I am pleading for you to take it seriously. 

Unfortunately, it’s had to be a very different Spring Break for all of us. The Governor’s stay-at-home order goes through April 7, but I would be very surprised if that date wasn’t extended.  Here’s the thing: We can't be hanging out in groups, we can't be playing sports together, and we can't be over at each other's houses. I'm imploring anyone who reads this to PLEASE adhere to the stay-at-home order, and follow physical distancing guidelines. 

Parents, if you are keeping your child at home and have been accused of being the “WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD,” you’re not. (Know that, I too, have known the pain of being the Worst Parent in the World). 

Students, if you are being required to stay home and believe you are being raised by the “WORST PARENT IN THE WORLD,” you’re not. Actually, your parents are doing the right thing and making sure your family is doing its part to keep us all safe. You should thank them. 

Students, this is not a joke, it’s not a hoax, and we need you to stay physically separated. Those at most risk are older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.  I suspect most of us know and love someone who might be in one of those categories, and we want to make sure our actions protect those people as much as possible. However, keep in mind anyone can get this disease. Recent cases have shown that this virus is impacting people of all ages; teenagers are not immune. 

In addition, we all want to come back to school as soon as possible. In order for that to happen, we have to “flatten the curve.” By that, I mean slowing the rate of infection in our community, and the only way we know how to do that is to maintain physical distance. There is no vaccine, and there is no cure yet. We simply must keep the virus from spreading and that is our individual responsibility. 

I've added a link to an editorial from the Daily Herald titled, “The numbers make it clear -- social distancing protects people and saves lives“ 

Thanks very much for your attention. 

Dr. Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127







 

 

 

March 20, 2020

On the Governor's Stay at Home Order

By now you have probably heard that Governor Pritzker issued a “Stay at Home” order and extended school cancellations through Tuesday, April 7th. However, District 127 will conduct eLearning through Thursday, April 9.

To summarize:

  • March 23 through March 27: Spring Break
  • March 30 through April 3: eLearning
  • April 6th through April 9: eLearning

Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13 would have been non-attendance days, so the earliest students and staff might be back in buildings would be Tuesday, April 14.

Our school buildings will be closed starting at 5 pm on Saturday, March 21, except for essential school personnel per Governor Pritzker’s order. At that time, our facilities will be closed. That includes all athletic fields, tracks, and tennis courts. This is to protect everyone’s safety and to encourage everyone to stay at home. 

Staff: If you need to retrieve anything from either building, we ask that you do so prior to Saturday the 21st at 5 pm. If you have technology needs, we will have tech staff in each building tomorrow from 8 am to 3 pm, and all will be practicing appropriate social distancing. Please check your email for more information. 

We want you to know the governor’s office has assured school districts that school personnel involved in providing meals will not be in violation of the governor’s executive order and that we can, and should, continue with our program, which has had a tremendous impact in making sure our students are not going hungry while school is closed. It’s a drive-up service in front of Grayslake North High School: Drive up between the hours of 9 and 11, Monday through Friday, and we will deliver meals to your car. 

One of my favorite phrases is “Creativity loves constraints.” This means that, despite this situation, and the limits placed on our ability to be near each other physically, our teachers and staff are going to come up with unique ways to deliver content and connect with students.  

I know this is an unsettling time, and in times like this, we count on institutions like our schools. Please rest assured that our teachers are world-class. They have been working like crazy to make sure that students have a good experience once eLearning starts in full, and that our families feel cared for and supported. Is it going to look different? Yes. Are we going to find out that some things work and some things don’t in this environment? Undoubtedly. Are we going to see some amazing innovation? Absolutely.

We are just absorbing all of this new information and our new temporary reality. Looking ahead, it’s natural to think about some very important upcoming school events: AP tests, the SAT, proms, award ceremonies, graduation. Very shortly, we will have guidance on AP testing and the SAT. More information will be coming to families next week. No decisions have been made about any other events as we await further information from the Governor’s office. We will let our community know of any developments as soon as possible. 

Thank you so much for your kind words and your support. We have received so many messages from parents, students, and community members, asking how our teachers, staff, and administration are doing. That’s just amazing. I think we are doing fine. We are all in this together, so let’s keep looking out for each other and look forward to the day we can be together again in person. 

More information will be coming next week. 

Thank you and please stay healthy!

Dr. Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent, Grayslake High School Dstrict 127

 

March 16, 2020

School Closure Meal Service, Internet Access Options, and Donation Opportunities

Good afternoon District 127 family, 

Being mindful of the unsettling economic times, we would like to pass along information that may be useful to your family: Comcast Internet is offering free internet access for the next 60 days, and District 127 is offering meal service to families in need. We also request your help in the fight against hunger if you are in a position to do so. See details below. 

Internet Service

If you do not have consistent wifi service during this time, Comcast has made a number of resources available for the next 60 days. 

First of all, Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser. In addition, new customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet service, which is normally available to all qualified households for $9.95/month.

Click here for more information. Please note: District 127 is only passing this information along as a courtesy. We neither manage these offers nor endorse Comcast as an internet provider.  

Meal Service and Donation Opportunities

District 127 will provide breakfast and/or lunch for any families in need during our scheduled school closure.  Meal service will begin on Wednesday, March 18 and continue through Friday, April 3, 2020.

To help ensure we have the appropriate levels of food available for distribution, families in need of meal service are asked to complete this brief survey prior to 2:00 p.m, Tuesday March 17, 2020. 

The district will host a pick-up station at Grayslake North High School near B162 entrance starting Wednesday, March 18.  Breakfast and lunch will be available for pick up during the hours of 9am and 11am, Monday through Friday.  

In addition, if you have any extra non-perishable food supplies or household items that you would like to donate to help in that effort, we would greatly appreciate it. We are specifically looking for the following items:

  • Canned Goods
  • Boxed Pastas (noodles/mac & cheese etc…)
  • Sauces
  • Canned Soups
  • Boxed Cereals
  • Cereal/Protein/Granola Bars
  • Applesauce
  • Canned Fruit/Vegetables
  • Household Items

You can bring items for donation to Grayslake North High School main entrance.  Members of the D127 Team will be available from 8 am to 3 pm daily to receive your donations. Boxes in the front vestibule will be available for you to drop off donations.

Finally, if you are interested in making a monetary donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund to assist families in need throughout the nation, please click here

Thank you for your consideration in helping families across our community weather these extraordinary circumstances. As always, see the d127.org/updates page for all school closure information. 

Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127

 

March 15, 2020

Video Message re: COVID-19 Closure

 

March 14, 2020

Clarification on Governor Pritzker's Announcement and Updated Cancellation Plans

On Friday, March 13, Governor Pritzker announced that Illinois schools would be closed no later than Tuesday March 17. However, Grayslake High School District 127 will be closed on Monday, March 16, and students and staff will return no earlier than Monday, April 6

To summarize our most current closing plans: 

  • Monday,‌ ‌March‌ ‌16‌ ‌through‌ ‌Friday,‌ ‌March‌ ‌20:‌ ‌Emergency‌ ‌Days‌ ‌-‌ ‌No‌ ‌student‌ ‌or‌ ‌staff‌ ‌attendance.‌ 
  • March 23 through March 27:  Spring Break  ‌-‌ ‌No‌ ‌student‌ ‌or‌ ‌staff‌ ‌attendance.‌ 
  • March 30 through April 3: eLearning - Students and staff stay home, instruction delivered through Schoology. (More information coming soon)
  • Students and staff return to school no earlier than Monday, April 6. This is tentative, depending on recommendations from the CDC and Health Departments, and instructions from the Governor’s office. 

Updates will be available via this page and via School Messenger. For the most recent updates, I recommend families download the School Messenger app, available for iPhone and Android. This app features push notifications, so you will get updates immediately through your mobile device. 

 

March 13, 2020

Updated Information: School Cancellation starting Monday, March 16

Good afternoon, Grayslake 127 family, 

Currently, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Community High School District 127. However, with the number of cases across the state and region increasing and as a result of our communications and coordination with the Health Department officials, District 127 is taking proactive measures to help to reduce the spread of illness throughout our community. 

D127 is implementing the following schedule and procedures: 

At the end of the day, March 13, students should be sure to collect all academic materials and bring them home, including Chromebooks and chargers. 

  • Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20: Emergency Days - No student or staff attendance.  
    • The district will use emergency days, which will allow our maintenance staff to continue deep cleaning of our buildings. No eLearning will take place during these days. 
    • This will allow teachers to use that time to further plan for eLearning following Spring Break if they choose. 
    • If families have needed medications on-site in our nurse’s office, please pick them up on Monday, March 16 by 3:00 p.m. Contact the building principal if you need to pick up medications. For Central, contact Dan Landry at dlandry@d127.org and for North contact Jim Roscoe at jroscoe@d127.org. 
  • March 23 through March 27:  Spring Break. 
    • No student or staff attendance.
  • March 30 through April 3: eLearning.
    • Teachers will provide lessons and assessments through Schoology and will be available electronically for students. 
    • Additional information about eLearning will be provided to families prior to March 30th. 

Additionally, the following procedures will be followed until April 6, 2020:  

  • Effective immediately, all after-school events, practices, competitions, and rehearsals (extra-curricular, athletics, fine arts), are canceled. We will evaluate whether or not these performances and events can be rescheduled at a later time. 
  • All international and domestic spring break trips have been canceled.
  • All off-campus field trips during the school day and weekend are canceled.
  • All outside rentals are canceled. 

Information will be provided to families through the School Messenger program as soon as possible and will be posted on the District 127 Updates page. www.d127.org/updates

These are unprecedented times. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this situation together.

Respectfully, 

Dr. Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent, Grayslake 127

 

March 11, 2020

Updated COVID-19 Information: Update Center, Rumor Clearance, and Spring Break Travel

Good afternoon D127 community,

I want to give you information on three topics related to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 1) A new “Update Center” page, 2) rumor clearance regarding two specific situations, and 3) guidelines for the upcoming Spring Break holiday.

1. New "Update Center"page

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 as it relates to District 127, please visit our new “Updates” page. We will post new D127 information, messages sent to families (including this one), school closing information, and generally useful resources. This page will be available on the front page of the District and building websites. Click here for the Update Center page: http://www.d127.org/updates 

2. Rumor Clearance:

I want to give you information regarding two situations that have NOT resulted in any staff or students being at risk of exposure. I just want to make sure you have accurate information and limit the spread of rumor and speculation. 

First of all, an educational support staff member in our district has chosen to quarantine himself out of caution over the outbreak. In this instance, the staff member's adult daughter was in Northern Italy in the early moments of the initial COVID-19 outbreak. In planning for her return, the family determined that the best living arrangement for the daughter is with the District 127 staff member. Out of an abundance of caution, the staff member self-quarantined prior to his child returning to the United States. He ceased contact with District staff and students before her plane landed, and has not been on school grounds since that time.  Both father and daughter are under the care of medical professionals and are monitoring their respective conditions. Both will self-quarantine for the recommended 14 days at a minimum, and we will reassess the staff member's fitness to return to the district at that time. Neither individual has shown signs of contracting COVID-19. 

Secondly, two of our students have been working at a local adult care facility as part of a work-study program. The administration of this facility recently determined that students under the age of 18 should not continue to work at the location. This decision was made strictly as a precaution, and there has been no positive COVID-19 test at the facility. Once again, we have no reason to believe our students were in any danger of exposure. 

We will keep you updated if any other relevant situations arise.    

3. Spring Break Travel:

For those traveling over spring break to a region with known clusters of  Coronavirus diagnoses or are in contact with people who test positive for the virus, please follow Federal guidelines concerning after-travel health precautions.  The specific guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning anyone traveling to or from an area of the world determined as Level 3 Travel Health Notice may be found on the CDC website. 

If you return home from a designated Level 3 Travel Health Notice location, the CDC indicates that you should stay home for 14 days from the time you left the area. Please take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for coughing or trouble breathing.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

 

Thank you for your patience during this very challenging time. We are doing our very best to ensure the safety of our staff and students during this rapidly evolving situation.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to district personnel if you have a question or concern. Please see additional CDC tips for preventing the spread of germs below this signature line. 

Best regards, 

Mikkel Storaasli

Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127


CDC tips on preventing the spread of germs

Keeping Hands Clean

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy. You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.  Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

 

How to use hand sanitizer

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

February 27, 2020

Superintendent's Message: 2/27/202


Dear Grayslake 127 families,


On Tuesday, February 25th, the Chicago Tribune published an article reporting on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) update regarding the COVID-19 response in the United States. The article stated that schools should be prepared with alternative plans for instruction should the virus spread. As of this moment, no significant changes to our normal operations are being recommended for District 127 schools.

Since the announcement, District 127 has been in communication with the Regional Office of Education (ROE) regarding next steps. The ROE has been in contact with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and will be updating schools if there are any changes. In addition, we will continue to follow guidance from the CDC and the Lake County Health Department regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
Currently, the Lake County Health Department believes the immediate risk to the public remains low. Lake County residents, students, visitors, and workers do not need to change their behavior or use masks or gloves. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Health released an update on the preventative steps they are taking to limit the spread of COVID-19.


In the meantime, the district is reviewing our procedures in the event we need to make alternative plans. The district maintenance staff is taking special care to disinfect highly touched areas of the school, such as door handles, desks, and pencil sharpeners. If at any time we are advised to close our schools, we may employ e-Learning days to ensure continuous instruction. We will keep you informed regarding this process and any changes that may occur. While the Coronavirus news is concerning, we believe it is important to point out that, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are other respiratory viruses like influenza currently circulating in Illinois. Fever, coughing and difficulty breathing are symptoms associated with all of them. Therefore, anyone exhibiting these symptoms should not be assumed to have COVID-19. If your student, or anyone in your family, develops such symptoms, we urge you to contact your medical provider immediately. In the meantime, we reiterate the following common-sense actions that you and your family can take for protection: 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may contain germs.

For more information, please visit the following websites:


Thank you for your continued support and partnership.


Sincerely,
Dr. Mikkel Storaasli
Superintendent

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention