Important message from the Superintendent

Important message from Mr. Gradert, Superintendent
Posted on 08/16/2021
August 16, 2021

Dear West Prairie Parents and Guardians,

The first day of student attendance is quickly approaching and public health mandates are changing as frequently as last year. We continue to ask for your patience and flexibility during the pandemic. The Board of Education voted at the meeting on August 12th to comply with the revised guidance of August 4 th from ISBE, IPDH, IHSA, and IESA following the Governor’s Executive Order. Until further notice, West Prairie Schools will require masks for everyone in school buildings and on school buses. Students will not be permitted in the building without a mask.

We had hoped for a mask free start to the school year; however, public health officials have determined a mask is required in certain circumstances. This school year is not much different from the beginning of last year. Some positives: distancing is 3 feet instead of 6 feet, outdoor sports & activities will allow for unmasked participation, testing (parental and student consent required) can be utilized to reduce or eliminate quarantine time for students and staff, and vaccinations are available for some students and staff.

The past month has been difficult in terms of navigating divergent public opinions during a public health pandemic, and maintaining focus on the operations of West Prairie. My priorities will always be centered around ensuring our students have everything they need to have a safe, clean, and nurturing learning environment. I am pleading with all stakeholders to please cooperate with the school staff. The administrators and I are not law enforcement officers or public health officials. Please do not put us in unsafe and impossible situations to begin the year. We want all our students and staff to be able to peacefully and safely access the schools.

Students who are not in compliance with the mask requirement will not be permitted in the school. Like a dress code violation, noncompliance will be handled with progressive discipline measures that are provided in the student handbooks. Every effort will be made to provide the student or adult with a mask and the opportunity to enter the facility.

Remote learning is not available to a student unless they have a medical condition, certified by a licensed physician, that prevents them from in-person attendance, or the student is being quarantined.

When other superintendents asked me how we were able to be in school last year learning, I simply stated it was the cooperation of staff, students, parents, and other community members; moreover, it was the support our parents and guardians gave us. We are again asking for your understanding.Thank you.

Guy W. Gradert

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