Dear River Forest Parents and Community,
In a special board meeting that was held on August 4th, the River Forest Board of Trustees voted to begin the new school year by utilizing our Virtual Learning format for all students. The Virtual Learning format will remain in place through September 11, 2020. On September 8th, 2020 the River Forest Board will reconvene to consider the safety and needs of our community, evaluate the level of COVID, and determine the learning status for River Forest Schools. Career and Tech Ed students will be allowed to participate in a hybrid model, in lab experiences; efforts will be made to conduct special needs student diagnostic meetings in person and other small group and in-person activities are being considered based on the
individual safety features and needs of each of our school buildings.
As athletics and extra-curricular activities remain voluntary, we will continue with the safety measures put in place by the IHSAA and our local leadership. The high school principal, athletic director, director of nursing, and central administration will monitor these programs on a daily basis to determine the continuance of each program individually.
It was with a great deal of deliberation and study that I recommended the Virtual Learning start to our Board; I have spent hours in consultation with the Lake County Board of Health, the Department of Education, dozens of school districts across NWI, our own administrators, teachers, custodians, food service employees, nursing staff, bus drivers, and community members. Most relevant in my process for considering our future was the fact that the Lake County Board of Health only recently released recommendations for safely reopening our schools on Friday, July 31st , 2020. The upward trend with the increase in positivity rates among the age group of 0-19 in Lake County, and concerns with bringing students and staff into the buildings while the COVID-19 is in an uptick, has caused us to approach the new school year with caution, which will allow River Forest to gather more information and data before bringing students and staff back to schools for full days of learning.I understand the stress that this will place on many households. I understand the sacrifices that both community and employee groups have made during this unprecedented time. Where it is my absolute belief that the best learning happens in person - in schools – we are in the midst of a global health crisis and the well-being of our community must be considered first. The highly contagious nature of COVID-19 makes in person attendance in schools extremely concerning for our students, their households, and any family or friends connected with each entity.
We will monitor the health of our individual community and employee groups and the overall health of Lake County in considering re-opening of in person school as early as possible. As has been the case, we will continue to issue pertinent information via our school messenger service and online pages.
Dr. Steve Disney
River Forest School Superintendent