March 12, 2020
Dear Butler School District 53 families,
We have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students or staff in Butler School District 53 at this time. We are aware of local area school districts deciding to cancel after-school activities and to close school altogether. We value the open line of communication we have with DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) officials, especially in an unprecedented situation such as this one, and will continue to make our recommendations based on the most recent updates as provided by the DCHD. With such a rapidly developing situation, we are following the guidelines presented to us by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention federal (CDC), DuPage County Health Department (DCHD), DuPage Regional Office of Education (ROE), and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Most recently, the CDC pushed out interim guidance for K-12 schools.
- Non-Essential Brook Forest Elementary and Butler Junior High School gatherings of 250 people or more are suspended until further notice
- Individuals at increased risk of severe illness should consider staying at home and avoiding gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel
- No recommendation to close schools at this time
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Administrators of U.S. Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools “the first step for schools in this situation [COVID-19] is to talk with local health officials” - The CDC guidance also makes it clear that schools are not expected to make decisions about dismissal or canceling events on their own. Schools should seek specific guidance from local health officials to determine if, when, and for how long to make dismissal and large event cancellation decisions.
We have been working with our partners at DCHD tirelessly throughout the night, and again early this morning and expect that they will respond to our requests to post updated recommendations for schools across the county as expeditiously as possible. The most recent recommendations I have received do not include school closure or the suspension after-school activities under these circumstances but do include the mitigation strategies we are putting into place by limiting non-essential gatherings of 250 people or more at this time. It is my understanding that any DHCD updates are to be posted on their website and will remain aligned to the Community Mitigation Strategies from the CDC.
Again, this is a rapidly developing situation and is being monitored closely. Further updates will be provided should the current situation in our school district change. Furthermore, our updates are being posted on the https://www.butler53.com/ webpage. Please be sure to contact your school office if you have questions related to the status of a specific school event.
Dr. Paul O’Malley
Superintendent of Schools