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COVID-19 Updates

Please check back often for the latest information about Wilmington CUSD 209-U updates and procedures regarding COVID-19.

A Message from Wilmington Cmty Unit SD 209-U

Attention Parents, Students, & Staff -

As promised in our last communication, I wanted to send out an update as soon as possible to all parents, students, and staff.

Recently, Governor Pritzker implemented a new executive order that supports safe in-person learning and requires that masks be worn indoors by all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K–12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Governor Pritzker Mask Mandate Executive Order - August 4, 2021

Although I am not surprised due to the announcements and activity over the past couple of weeks, I did want to reach out to make sure that everyone was aware of this most recent change.

I hope that everyone has been able to unplug and recharge over the past several weeks throughout the summer break. The change of pace and additional family time was much needed, but we are now very excited to welcome back everyone to the upcoming 2021–2022 school year! Even while facing the many challenges which surfaced throughout this past school year, we were extremely grateful to have our Wilmington students and staff in our schools for the entire school year.

As we have stated on many occasions, the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and local families will always serve as our number one priority. As school leaders, we have followed professional guidance from the beginning of the pandemic. We have trusted that the purpose of this guidance is to keep our students and staff safe during uncertain times.

All throughout the pandemic, we have been reviewing all guidance provided by our governing group authorities and health officials while also participating in frequent discussions with neighboring school districts, consulting with legal counsel, Board of Education, county health department, and the Regional Office of Education and working together with our students, parents, and staff to tackle every obstacle that we have faced.

As recently as two weeks ago, our local school leaders, based upon the most current guidance available, believed that we might have the opportunity to return to school with the wearing of masks is strongly recommended, but not necessarily required in most situations. However, the Governor’s Executive Order removed this potential option.

Once the school mask mandate is removed within the State of Illinois, please know that we will carefully monitor the published COVID-19 transmission data for Will, Grundy, and Kankakee Counties to determine if we can consider adjusting that particular safety mitigation in Wilmington. We understand that we do not necessarily identify directly with the more populated areas of Will County to our north, which is why we will also review neighboring counties. If allowed within professional guidance, and we see metrics improve within the three identified counties (e.g., mostly low or moderate transmission levels vs. the higher levels we are currently seeing), we will have immediate conversations with the Will County Health Department related to the possibility of optional mask-wearing in our local schools.

As a lifelong Wildcat myself, I have never been more proud to be a part of the Wildcat family than I was throughout this past school year. We truly appreciate the flexibility, understanding, and trust extended by our parents, students, and the community of Wilmington as a whole. As we move forward with our planning and look forward to our students returning to our classrooms on Wednesday, August 18, we would simply like to ask for your continued patience and cooperation.

Please know that we want students to be provided with the opportunity for in-person learning again, in the safest possible environment, all throughout the 2021–2022 school year. Professional health organizations continue to advocate that masks help to provide this environment. As a public school district, we will be required to follow this new mandate.

We want students to have as normal of an experience as possible this year. One very positive result of this Executive Order is that the ‘close contact’ stipulation for those near a positive COVID-19 case will reduce to three feet vs. six feet. This will truly have a positive impact, greatly reducing the number of mandatory quarantines for close contacts keeping more of our students inside the classroom, which is where they belong!

Please keep your eye out for additional communication sometime soon, which will include a rough copy of the full return to school plan, which will we will finalize at the beginning of next week. Enjoy your final days of summer break! We are looking forward to another successful and exciting school year in the Wilmington School District!

Take care,

Matt Swick
Superintendent of Schools
Wilmington School District