I trust you are enjoying the summer days with your family and friends and making time for some relaxation. I want to update you about three important items:
We are analyzing the recently released guidance from the CDC and state agencies. We are pleased to see that the guidance endorses a path for a full in-school experience for our students this fall. However, we noted a lack of clarity in how the guidance should be implemented by local schools, specifically regarding the wearing of masks, social distancing, and quarantine requirements. We will continue to update you when new information is available. For now, please be apprised of the following information:
The CDC’s updated COVID-19 guidance for schools explicitly allows schools to lift mask requirements indoors for students and staff who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and generally allows schools to decide where and how masking fits with their mitigation strategies. Individuals are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after their final dose of the vaccine. The CDC says individuals who are not vaccinated should wear a mask while at school.
Activities this summer, including meetings and summer school, will adhere to the new CDC guidelines for schools as well as updated Illinois Department of Public Health guidance and Illinois State Board of Education guidance.
Here are some key elements of our framework for the 2021-22 school year:
Thank you for your partnership, patience and understanding as we continue to diligently interpret and implement the national and state guidelines.
Free Breakfast and Lunch Each Day
During the 2021-22 school year, we will provide free breakfast and lunch to all students each day under the Seamless Summer Option program. A complete meal as defined by the USDA guidelines will be offered free of charge.
A la carte items such as chips, cookies, etc. will be available for purchase. Students will be able to purchase items using cash, MySchoolBucks funds, or debit and credit cards.
All students served will need to scan their IDs so meal transactions are reported to the state.
Families do not need to complete an application to receive free or reduced meals at school during the 2021-22 school year. However, families are encouraged to complete the application in order to be eligible for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. Applications can be found at this link.
P-EBT provides benefits to families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under an approved USDA meal service program. More information on P-EBT is available here.
Waiver of School Fees – Expanded Eligibility
Families that receive SNAP, TANF or Income Eligible Medicaid that received a letter indicating they are directly certified by the state will receive a waiver of school fees for the 2021-22 school year. In order to qualify for a waiver of school fees, families not notified of being directly certified will need to apply for the waiver and meet the household income eligibility requirements.
In an effort to provide our families who are facing extraordinary economic challenges with financial relief, we have doubled the range of income eligibility for school fee waivers for the 2021-22 school year. Families with household incomes double the current federal income eligibility guideline of 130% (now 260%) will now qualify for our school fee waivers. For example, a household of six with an income of $92,508 would now qualify for a school fee waiver for the 2021-22 school year.
Information regarding expanded eligibility and the application process, including the paper application, is located at this link. Eligible families are encouraged to apply for the fee waiver. This is the first year the online application process via PowerSchool is available. Check out a step-by-step video at this link. If a family applies for a waiver of school fees, they must also sign up for our 8-payment plan. For help setting up a payment plan, please click here.
Please note that families who pay school fees and are subsequently approved for fee waivers, will receive a refund. Families do not need to take any action to receive a refund. Please allow approximately 60 days for payments to be processed.
There is a lot going on as we prepare for the new school year. We will keep you apprised as new information becomes available. In the meantime, enjoy summer.
David F. Larson, Ed.D.
596 Crescent Blvd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137