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Rich Township High School District 227 News Article

COVID-19 Update - April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

Dear Rich Township Community:

As we wrap up our first week of remote learning and head into our Spring Break week, we would like to thank you for your support during this unprecedented time. In this week’s video message, a few of our administrators share some important information for our staff, students, and community. Spring Break will be observed tomorrow, April 10 (Good Friday) through April 17, which means remote learning classes will not be in session. Remote learning will resume on April 20.  

It has been great to witness the hard work our teachers are doing to create truly innovative, engaging experiences for their students in this unique learning environment. Staying engaged means attending classes daily, completing assignments by the due date, using feedback to redo assignments and asking for a teacher’s help, if needed. If your student is experiencing obstacles preventing them from staying engaged or they feel they cannot complete the assignments, please contact your student’s teacher or counselor.

We are working to update you with all the changes throughout District 227 during these ever-evolving times. We want to take this opportunity to share some important information with you regarding the future of the District.

Athletics/Activities

As you may know, our sports and activities programs will combine next school year, which will ultimately offer greater access to students at all Rich Township High School campuses. In deciding to combine programs, we needed to find a new mascot that represented the culture of District 227 and was selected by our stakeholders. In late February, District 227 asked students, parents, staff, alumni and community members to cast their vote for Rich Township High School’s new mascot. Polls closed last month, and we would like to thank all who voted and helped develop the future of the district.

The winning mascot: Rich Township High School RAIDERS!

We are currently seeking students to help create and design the new logo. The design must be based on the positive elements of the historical and cultural identity of Rich Township High School. The design should include the district’s brand colors – red, black, and white. The winning design will win a spirit pack and board recognition. Please send submissions to [email protected] no later than April 20th. 

Reminder: Spring sports are canceled through the remainder of the season.

Advanced Placement (AP) Information

To support students in continuing their AP journey, the College Board is offering online take-at-home AP Exams. All of our students have already registered for their exams, and we want to encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity during the extended school closures. The exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March. For more information, please visit http://www.rich227.org/TestingUpdates.aspx


Food Service

There will be no food distribution during Spring Break, which takes place April 10-17. 


The Rich Township District 227 Food Service Team has been providing emergency meals to all area families with children ages 0-18 years of age since the emergency closure began on March 17. On March 30, over 11,000 meals were distributed districtwide for each child to cover an entire week of meals. On average, over 7,500 meals are distributed districtwide weekly.


Technology


The Technology Department has worked tirelessly to ensure all students have access to technology during this unprecedented time. As of April 9, the Technology Department has distributed 759 Chromebook and 1,246 cell phones with hot spot capabilities. On April 8, an additional 192 Chromebooks and 75 cell phones were distributed to students in need of technology or internet access to complete remote learning assignments. 

Staff and students can stay connected through Google Hangouts Meet by using our G Suite for Education platform. Schoology has enabled real-time sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, and screen features.

Building and Grounds

The Buildings and Grounds team continues to conduct deep cleanings of all district buildings and technology, which follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The two-step process for cleaning and disinfecting includes wiping and cleaning all surfaces, and the use of an electrolyzed water and mineral solution, which creates a highly functional sanitizer and disinfectant that is applied through a misting machine used by the custodial staff.

Business Office Information

Essential functions will continue throughout this unprecedented time. Essential functions include processing payroll, processing bills, employment verifications, making deposits, and conducting other district business. 


ALL employees will work remotely on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until further notice. The District office and all three schools building offices will remain open for essential staff on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


When employees are working remotely, please email emergency questions the campus or district office personnel.

Essential Staff 


Although a statewide stay-at-home order is in place, essential staff may be required to report to work. Essential staff are defined as custodial, maintenance, certain clerical workers, food service, technology and administrators. These staff members are expected to report to work as required by their immediate supervisor. Therefore, if you are required to report to work, and you are not available to report for an unexcused reasons, you will be docked for the day. If you or an immediate family member is ill, you may use accumulated sick leave. You also may use a personal or vacation day subject to the approval of your immediate supervisor.

Payroll Information during April

All live paychecks will be mailed on April 9 and April 24 to the address on file with the Human Resources Department. Checks will not be available for pickup at campuses or at the District Office. 

Due to the possible increase in fraudulent activity, direct deposit and address changes submitted electronically will not be accepted. Anyone with direct deposit, will receive their funds in the specified bank account(s). Please contact Human Resources to update staff information. All salaried staff will continue to receive pay in April. Stipends will be paid as if the sport or activity was functioning as it would be if the school buildings were open to students. The immediate supervisor may require a periodic check in for remote staff.

Information for staff paid through a timecard:

Timecards – April 9th Paycheck

If you completed and submitted a timecard from March 11 through March 27 (regular or emergency timecards), this time will be paid on April 9th. If you were already paid for any of this time on March 25, you will not be paid again.

Timecards – April 24th Paycheck

If you complete and submit a timecard from March 30 through April 6 (regular or emergency timecards), this time will be paid on April 24th.

All Twelve-month, Ten-month, Custodial and Maintenance staff 

These staff members will be paid their normal average pay during the month of April, since the district is no longer shut down, but has moved to remote learning. A timecard will not be required.

Payment for “Act of God” (emergency) days:

Based on the most recent guidance from Governor Pritzker, the “Act of God” days are defined as the period from March 17, 2020 through March 30, 2020. However, the district will continue to pay “emergency” days through April 6, 2020 to classified staff that were required to work at a school site. 

Effective April 7, emergency compensation pay will be discontinued.

Also, if you need to be absent for a COVID-19 reason covered by the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), please contact the Human Resources Department. Information about FFCRA can be found at the following link: http://www.rich227.org/EmployeeRightsInformation.aspx

Be Cautious

The FBI announced in late-March that they are seeing an increase in fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Presently, cyber criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to deliver their malware payloads. They are specifically designing phishing e-mails and websites that prey on the public’s fears and worries about COVID-19 to increase the likelihood that victims will unwittingly download malware onto their computers. We ask that you remain alert and exercise good cyber hygiene to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

The best cyber hygiene practices include: 

  • Keeping work laptops properly secured at all times.
  • Keeping work and personal business information separate. 
  • Do not send work-related information from less secure personal e-mail accounts. 
  • Do not download sensitive or confidential work documents to a home computer. 
  • Do not use public computers or public Wi-Fi. 
  • Always use strong passwords (at least 10 characters and using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols). 
  • Do not share your device or password with anyone. 
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Only navigate to trusted websites. 
  • When sending sensitive information over e-mail, enable e-mail encryption. 
  • At the end of the workday, log off all work devices and remote work platforms.

Additionally, as the health and safety of our students, staff and community remain our top priority, we ask that you continue to follow the guidance recommended by the CDC to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Please ensure you are following social distancing protocol, wearing a mask when you are in public, sneezing and/or coughing into your arm or a tissue, washing your hands frequently, and seeking medical attention if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The majority of our students have been following the rules and are actively engaged in remote learning. I would like to thank students for their hard work, as well as parents for keeping students on track. I encourage you to periodically check our website and follow us on social media for the most up-to-date information.

Offical District 227 social media profiles: 

Please stay strong and healthy. Once again, thank you.

Respectfully, 

Dr. Johnnie Thomas
Superintendent

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