Update on 3/20/20 at 4:00pm
Dear Illiana Families,
In compliance with the Indiana governor’s order, Illiana Christian High School will continue with e-learning “classrooms” through April. As the governor was a little tentative about what will happen after that, so are we. However, our plan is to continue e-learning through next week, then have one week without e-learning (Spring Break). This will be followed by a resumption of e-learning for just four days since we will have Good Friday, April 10, off of school. We are then adding one additional day off! That will be Easter Monday, April 13. There will be no “classes” or assignments due on that Monday. Another way of putting it is that we will have a full week off for Spring Break and then also have a 4-day weekend for Easter. If the situation and the governor allows, we would return to classes on campus Friday, May 1.
During this time of e-learning, all extra-curricular activities are canceled. There will be no athletic practices or games. There is an effort being made to salvage a Spring athletic season when school resumes, but, of course, that is tentative.
Other events that were scheduled in April are LIKELY canceled. Grandparents Day is canceled. The Spring Supper is canceled. Parent-Teacher Conferences are canceled. The Pancake Pacer is canceled. We are unsure at this time about the Association meeting that was scheduled for April 20. The meeting information that is going out now includes an absentee ballot. We may have to accept only absentee ballots in place of an in-person meeting. More will be said about this later.
As e-learning continues, I want to commend the teachers and students of Illiana who are doing a great job of rising to the very challenging circumstances brought on by the sudden and radical changes demanded of everyone. I have been is close communication with Illiana teachers and I am confident that we have had a fine start. Moving forward teachers will be increasingly requiring full participation from students. A growing number of lessons will require daily participation and even “attending” classes on time using Zoom and other platforms. So, I remind students again, please understand that you are still “in school.” Students that do not participate daily might not be found truant, but their grades will reflect their lack of participation. I have been very encouraged in this first week of e-learning that teachers and students are responding well to the “new normal” of learning from home. I am also aware that some students are learning under challenging circumstances–while caring for siblings or being home alone all day.
As you know, the third quarter ended today. Grade reports should be accessible online by the end of next week. If you did not do your best during this first week of e-learning, you now have a chance to start over and make the best of it!
Parents, a special word of thanks to you! I know this is not what you signed up for. Please know that your child’s teachers and I would also rather have your child at school with us rather than home with you! Thank you for your assistance and patience, and for your prayers. The Illiana staff is at your disposal. Please feel free to contact any of us for help in this learning-from-home experiment. We are a little weakened by the challenges we are facing, but know this trial will make us stronger and better. This week my teachers have remarked how important it is to have parents looking over the shoulders of their students. Might I also suggest that you make each day’s e-learning the topic of discussion around the dinner table. Yes, with all the extra-curriculars canceled, perhaps your family is eating around the dinner table together again! #illianachristianstrong
Update on 3/14/20 at 12:50pm
In keeping with the state-wide closure of schools in Illinois beginning on Tuesday as well as the extensive closing of schools across northwest Indiana beginning on Monday, Illiana Christian High School has made the extraordinary and unprecedented decision to institute at-home e-learning for two weeks followed by a week of previously scheduled Spring Break. We are canceling in-person classes for two full weeks. On-campus classes would resume on April 6 unless the circumstances require resumption of e-learning.
There are no confirmed or even suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the Illiana community. This classroom closure is in response to the broader public health initiative to slow the spread of the virus despite the absence of confirmed cases. This is about social distancing and not about staying away from a contaminated area. The school building will be open for students on Monday from 8:00 until 3:00 to retrieve textbooks for the coming two weeks of e-learning.
All school activities are canceled during this time of distance learning and vacation. School leadership announced previously that athletic competitions were canceled; during these three weeks practices are also canceled.
Illiana has great teachers, and will be able to substantially continue teaching during this time away from the classroom. It will be different. The biggest challenge will be on students to treat this less-structured format for learning with the same vigor and discipline that they normally show in the classroom. We urge students to be diligent and keep up. Try to stay in a mindset of learning even while at home. Maintain regular times of learning. Nearly all the instruction over these next two weeks will be asynchronous, that is–not at the same time. Some teachers may set up chats for the class at the same time, but for others it may simply be a daily activity or assignment to be done at any time. We want to challenge students to be honest about their work. Working online facilitates a copy-and-paste approach that can sidestep individual learning. Learn with integrity.
Online assignments and activities could begin being posted at any time. Students should be looking for communication online from their teachers on Google Classroom or other platforms that the teachers may be using. We are blessed to have a school-wide one-to-one program with a Chromebook for every student. This will ensure that all our students have access to their own learning device during this time. If you do not have internet access in your home, please seek it at a library nearby. If you are unable to connect to the internet in any way, please contact the school. By the way, we will be sending you the morning announcements and the daily devotions each day. Make that part of the new routine. Please contact the school if you have a concern that a teacher might not be reaching you for a couple of days.
Thank you to the entire Illiana community for your understanding and support during this very strange and challenging time. We hope that this distancing will make a small contribution to the slowing of the spread of the coronavirus. As the school itself remains a safe place, I expect that our staff will continue to serve and the office will be open. Feel free to contact us as usual during this time. It is good to know that in so many ways we are together even when we are apart. Perhaps that is a piece of God’s plan through this crisis!
As I have indicated previously, if you have any questions, please contact email@example.com or for the latest updates visit https://www.illianachristian.org/illianas-response-covid-19/
Update March 13, 2020 11:00 a.m.
Illiana Christian High School is taking all necessary precautions to deal with COVID-19. Please be aware that at this time we have no knowledge of any coronavirus in the school community and no knowledge of any specific threat of infection. We are closely monitoring and following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health departments regarding cleaning and disinfecting our school building and other actions.
We are preparing our teachers and students for a possible transition to e-learning if the administration deems a closure of the school building necessary. We do not know when or if a closure might happen or how long it might last, but all of our teachers are working on e-learning procedures that would allow us to continue teaching our students from a distance.
Our maintenance staff is working hard to ensure that we are following an aggressive disinfecting protocol. We encourage students, staff, and faculty to wash their hands whenever possible and if they are feeling sick, we encourage them to stay home until they are well.
The Indiana governor has asked that all non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people be cancelled. Illiana considers our chapel services an essential part of our education, so Chapel will continue as planned for the time being.
All athletic competitions are cancelled until April 5, including the junior high boy’s volleyball competition scheduled at Illiana on Saturday, March 21. The blood drive on March 17, the Praise Crowd Breakfast on March 19, COP appointments, and field trips have been cancelled until further notice. The Spring Break mission trip to Uganda has been postponed but we are working to reschedule it. The Dominican Republic mission trip may also be postponed and rescheduled. As of right now, the mission trip to West Virginia will take place as planned.
Any second semester student absences after March 13, 2020 will not be counted toward exam voucher qualification. This allows students who have had good attendance up to this date to qualify for the exam voucher as usual while also giving parents of students feeling ill more discretion to stay home without repercussions.
As further actions are deemed necessary, we will update you as soon as we can. These are unprecedented times. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this situation together. As followers of Christ, let’s continue to pray to and trust the one who is in control of all things. It is very important that we act out of love and not fear, so lets particularly pray for peace and patience.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or for the latest updates please visit https://www.illianachristian.org/illianas-response-covid-19/
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