Dear Huntley 158 Parents & Families:
I want to begin this message by acknowledging the extraordinary efforts of the entire Huntley 158 community over the past year and a half. Your perseverance is what allows us now to embark upon this next chapter in our district with the tools and fortitude necessary to be successful. As the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges and test the versatility of education, I am energized by the promise of welcoming back each and every one of our students into our buildings on August 18 and 19. Though their return may still be marked by the signs of a global pandemic, it is an essential reminder that the act of learning can persist in even the most difficult set of circumstances.
As we have prepared for the 2021-22 school year during these summer months, the foremost priority in Huntley 158’s decision making processes has remained the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We strive to continue to make decisions based on local metrics, guidance from health experts at the local, state, and national level, and common sense mitigations. We are uniquely poised to build on the strategies and lessons learned over the course of the 2020-21 school year and during the entirety of this global pandemic to put our school community in a position of not only success, but good health.
Public health guidance for schools has continuously evolved over the course of our planning process. On Wednesday, August 4, Governor Pritzker released an Executive Order mandating universal masking for all students, staff, and visitors in PK-12 schools. Though this guidance directly impacts the safety precautions we are required to take as we start the year, our Board of Education approved the District’s 2021-22 Return to School plan on August 5, 2021 to take effect in the event the governor’s mask mandate is lifted. This plan details several mitigation strategies that will be implemented in our buildings during the year. Based on the mask mandate and most up to date public health guidance, Huntley 158 will begin the 2021-22 school year with the following mitigation strategies in place:
- Universal masking will be required for all students and staff in Huntley 158 schools and on buses.
- Physical distance of at least 3 feet will be maintained in classrooms and to the greatest extent possible in common spaces.
- Space will be maximized in cafeterias and classrooms (as needed) during lunch to the greatest extent possible.
- Parents are asked (NOT required) to share child’s vaccination status with school nurses in an effort to aid contract tracing, prioritize in-person learning and limit necessary periods of quarantine.
- Voluntary, free SHIELD COVID-19 saliva testing will be used to prevent periods of quarantine and monitor transmission in schools.
- Additional mitigation measures include as proper hand hygiene, routine cleaning and disinfecting, enhanced ventilation systems, and staying home when you are sick.
Forward Together: A Return to School Guide for Students & Families
In order to effectively represent the safety precautions and school procedures that will be in place as we begin the year, the district has compiled a Return to School Guide for our families, students and staff. The decisions reflected in this guidebook utilize proven and effective mitigation measures that will help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and allow us to do our part in bringing this pandemic to an end. This resource can be found on our website and is also attached to this email.
Opting OUT of SHIELD COVID-19 Testing
District 158 has partnered with the University of Illinois (SHIELD) program to assist with our efforts to monitor and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community. Testing for COVID-19 will be performed on a voluntary basis at each of our buildings and is free to all students and staff at every grade level. At this time, all students are able to participate in the testing process. However, parents may decide to OPT OUT of the testing program for each of their student(s) by completing an OPT OUT form. Parents can expect a follow up email with more details regarding the testing process and how to OPT OUT on Monday, August 9.
2021-22 Calendar Updates
The Board of Education has approved the addition of four (4) early release days to the 2021-22 school calendar. These School Improvement Days have been placed strategically to allow for ongoing staff collaboration sessions and professional development to occur in our buildings. Students at the secondary level will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. and students at the elementary level will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on these days. No additional instruction days will be added to the calendar, as these days fulfill the state requirement of five hours of instruction. These dates will be:
- Tuesday, September 21, 2021
- Tuesday, January 25, 2022
- Tuesday, March 8, 2022
- Friday, May 27, 2022 (last day of school)
To access the 2021-22 school calendar, visit our website here.
Registration Fees & Invoices
On July 15, 2021, the Board of Education approved a 50% reduction in student registration fees for the 2021-2022 school year. Those amended rates are reflected on our website. Registration fee invoices for the 2021-22 school year have been mailed to all families. These invoices reflect the amended rates for the 2021-22 school year and can be paid online via Huntley 158’s webstore.
Important Upcoming Dates
Huntley High School Material Pick Up: August 10 & 11
Middle School Supply Pick Up: August 12 & 13
Elementary Open House: Monday, August 16 (times will vary based on building)
First Day of School Grades 1-12: Wednesday, August 18
First Day of School Preschool & Kindergarten: Thursday, August, 19
We remain proud and grateful for the system of support that the Huntley 158 community offers. More than ever, we understand the importance of strengthening these relationships amongst our parents, families, and community members. Thank you for your partnership and support as we begin this new school year. I look forward to celebrating the many successes this year is sure to bring!
Dr. Scott Rowe, Ed.D.