Return to full-time school. Do I think it's time and do I think it's safe?

I believe the D181 board made the right decision to open hybrid in the fall. Without a doubt, it has been a challenging year around the world. But D181 has been able to be successful in having students in school part of the day ALL YEAR. We have not had outbreaks and have not reverted to full remote. Going forward 93% of families surveyed are in favor of returning to school full-time. Where we were at in the fall is different than where we are now. The evidence does not support the idea that schools drive the spread of the virus. We did not know this in the fall. But Schools do reflect the amount of spread in the community and we need to be aware of that. Schools need to follow the guidance of CDC, IDPH and ISBE. We know the riskiest part of returning to school is unmasked periods in school. Dr. Garcia has assured us that he will achieve 6 feet of distancing at lunch, which is where I am most concerned as a parent and public health professional. Beyond that, we must layer our mitigations. When we return, the majority of teachers will be vaccinated. Everyone will be masked. Testing will be available. And there will be at least 3 feet of social distancing. Would I like to see more feet? Yes, absolutely, wherever we can achieve it. However, I am married to a physician. I know that 6 feet is not maintained in hospitals and the spread has been cut dramatically in this setting. When all are masked, I am willing to accept the slight risk of spread if we need to go less than 6 feet in the classroom. Until the CDC changes quarantine guidelines, the higher risk of quarantines is part of the layered mitigation process that comes with making this compromise.

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