Good evening. I want to share some very important information regarding the upcoming school year. At the July 14, 2021 regular board of education meeting, President Scott Mancke announced that Manhattan School District 114 will begin the 2021-2022 school year with face masks being optional for both students and staff. The latest CDC, IDPH, and ISBE guidelines and recommendations were released since my last message. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also announced that local school boards have the authority to make the final decision regarding how school will begin this fall. However, all school districts must provide a remote learning option for eligible students, must work with the IDPH regarding contract tracing of positive cases and continue to quarantine based on IDPH notification, and all students that utilize school buses for transportation must wear a face mask on the school bus (this applies to all students, even those that are vaccinated). The Board of Education has directed me and my administration to complete the 2021-2022 School Opening Plan and present it to the board at a special meeting on August 4, 2021 for their review and approval. Many of the mitigation strategies employed this past school year will be in place to begin the year; 3 feet of social distancing, frequent hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting procedures implemented last year, increased filtration for the hvac systems, and increased fresh air for all areas within all facilities. All of the mitigation strategies will be outlined in the 2021-2022 School Opening Plan. Once approved, the 2021-2022 School Opening Plan will be posted to the Manhattan School District website and Facebook.
We understand that with face coverings being optional to begin the school year, there may be students or staff that are medically fragile or live with someone that has a medical condition that places them at risk. Therefore, a remote learning option will be made available for those students. Included with this communication is an explanation and application for the Remote Learning Option. Please review the information so that you can determine if the remote learning option is best for your child(ren).
Another necessary change for the upcoming school year relates to transportation. Due to the extreme difficulty in securing bus drivers, a problem faced by all school districts and all bus companies, LW210 has asked all feeder districts to switch to a three-tier system. Junior High routes will run first, followed by Anna McDonald, then last will be Wilson Creek. Each building will have their own bus routes going to and coming home from school. This will also lead to shorter bus routes with the longest routes being 40-45 minutes. Because of this change, the start times for the Junior High and Anna McDonald must also be adjusted. The hours for all three schools will be:
Junior High (7:45am - 2:15pm)
Anna McDonald (8:25am - 2:55pm)
Wilson Creek (9:00am - 3:30pm)
The health and safety of all of our students and faculty continue to be our top priority at Manhattan SD 114. We will continue to monitor all of the local and state metrics and will make any necessary changes in the mitigation strategies employed if/when things change. It is all of our hope that the worst is behind us and that we can continue to move forward and enjoy a much more “normal” and successful school year.
Rusty Ragon, Superintendent