During the 2020-2021 school year, Coles County public schools operated under guidance provided by the IDPH/ISBE and under the Governor’s Executive Orders. Planning to open schools for the 2021-2022 term, we recognize the interest of our school communities in knowing how schools will operate this fall (i.e. social distancing, face coverings, etc.). The most recent information received from State Superintendent Ayala is that the IDPH anticipates that CDC will issue its updated guidance for school in early July. Afterwards, the IDPH will finalize and issue updated guidance for Illinois’ schools, and local school staff can begin the process of reviewing updated guidance, continuing to plan for opening and communicating those plans. Of course, rather than providing clarity about the new school year, this information renews our need for continued patience – that which we have all exercised much. In the meantime, school superintendents across the State, including our superintendents in Coles County, have been writing to State Superintendent Ayala, Governor Pritzker and representatives of the IDPH to advocate for local decision-making based upon local data and coordination with local health officials. After last year’s experiences, public schools are equipped to utilize new tools as local and/or statewide pandemic data demonstrates such a need. While school registration continues or approaches in our districts, please know that our collective focus and intent is on returning to learn safely under traditional, “normal” circumstances, and our school staff will be anxious and prepared to serve students again for a new year.

In educational service,
Tim Condron, Superintendent, Mattoon CUSD #2
Lance Landeck, Superintendent, Oakland CUSD #5
Todd J. Vilardo, Superintendent, Charleston CUSD #1