East Moline School District families,
I hope you are well and enjoying the summer season. I wanted to communicate with all of you about how we will proceed with health and safety precautions for the upcoming year. Although we have made great strides in the fight against Covid-19, that battle is not yet over. For the upcoming school year, the East Moline School District is focused on keeping our students and employees safe, and keeping our students in school five days a week for a full day of school.
Imagine if a year ago we would have told everyone that we can keep your children in school for five days a week for a full day if we wear masks — most, if not all of us, would have emphatically signed up. We can keep many more students in school under the new guidelines if everyone is properly masked. For that reason, we will start our school year in masks for everyone.
Last year was very difficult on our families. The rules around close contacts and quarantine meant many students were excluded from school for a period of time due to being within 6 feet of a symptomatic or COVID-positive classmate. Those rules still apply but they made a slight change in the guidelines. The new guidance states that if students are properly masked, and within 3-6 feet, they do not have to quarantine as a close contact to a COVID-positive student. That’s a big change and one of the reasons why we will start our year with everyone wearing masks. The primary reason for starting our year with masks is for the health and safety of our students and employees. This includes all students and all employees. As you know, these guidelines are ever changing but we will stay on top of them to ensure we are meeting our goal of keeping everyone safe, and keeping our students in school.
Vaccinated individuals have a layer of protection, but the majority of our students in the East Moline School District are not yet eligible for the vaccine. We are hopeful that will change sometime in October. Until then, we will continue to watch local and regional positivity rates, keep most of our health and safety practices in place, and review the latest medical guidance including the availability of vaccines for children ages 2-11. These factors will drive our decision when to remove some of the mitigations in place.
Even though the pandemic had an impact on schooling last year, that isn’t stopping the East Moline School District from moving forward in providing our students opportunities and support needed to flourish this year and beyond. We are kicking off a new personalized approach to math instruction at Glenview Middle School, our elementary students will now receive instruction in science and engineering, and we will open a new early learning center for our preschool students this winter. Each of our schools has been given more support to help every child reach their full potential in what is going to be a great year. We welcome you back and wish you a wonderful last couple weeks of summer.
Dr. Kristin Humphries, Superintendent