Superintendent's Message - February 18, 2022

Superintendent's Message - February 18, 2022

Dear Butler D53 Families and Staff,

In light of the Appellate Court decision late yesterday and in consultation with legal counsel, Butler School District 53 will comply with updated legal guidance to suspend enforcement of Policy 4:182 Face Coverings effective Tuesday, February 22, 2022. Per the Executive Director of DuPage County Health Department, "at this time, public health agencies (CDC, IDPH and DCHD) along with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are recommending universal masking in schools to maintain in person learning." Therefore, face coverings are recommended, but not required within our buildings. The CDC Order still requires face coverings to be worn on school transportation.

As a reminder, Butler School District 53 remains committed to the strategic, layered approach to our district's COVID-19 response that has kept our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe since we reopened our doors for in-person learning in August 2020. We understand that the community is divided about the face covering policy. The Pandemic Awareness Committee met this week to recommend additional metrics/factors to guide our process including county and zip code transmission rates, as well as school positivity rates, and practices of area K-12 schools.

At the Regular Meeting of the Board of Education on Monday, February 14, 2022, the Board of Education administered the Oath of Office to a new member, Mr. John Baar. Mr. Baar is a longtime Oak Brook resident and former District 53 teacher and administrator. He will finish the term of the open vacancy through April 2023 and was appointed to the Committee of the Whole/Education, and Infrastructure committees. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming John Baar to the District 53 Board of Education.

Additionally, the Board of Education approved the Phase I Bid Awards for the initial phase of District 53's Capital Improvements and Vision project. These awards allow the district to begin moving forward with necessary adjustments and modifications to our buildings. Phase I will begin in April 2022 and will focus on initial classroom renovations and administrative space for collaboration at Butler Junior High School. At Brook Forest Elementary, Phase I will include a new elevator for greater ADA accessibility, reconfigured vestibule for enhanced security, and renovation of administrative offices. Phase I projects are necessary initial steps in order to prepare for the subsequent phases which focus on teaching and learning spaces.

We will send out further communications about the progress of Phase I with you as plans and progress are underway. As such, the district adopted the 2022-2023 School Calendar that takes into consideration the timeline necessary to successfully complete these projects with minimal interruption to the teaching and learning.

Stay well, be safe!

Dr. Paul O’Malley
Superintendent of Schools