School administrators like to work under the premise of research-based practices. When we select curriculum, or plan instruction and assessment, we look at the research that supports our selections and actions. Opening up the schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was based on recommendations from different public sources; their recommendations were a result of scientific research coupled with collaboration between organizations. At Immanuel Lutheran School, we followed and continue to follow the recommendations of the Illinois Public Department of Health, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Center for Disease Control. Additionally, since April, our administrators collaborated with other leaders from the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Although we have opened our doors under guidelines, until recently there obviously has not been research around schools that have opened. At the end of August, initial research has been shared by Education Week (Sparks, 2020). Two large studies in the UK and Australia affirmed the need for strict and comprehensive processes. Schools that opened either full-time, or part-time-in-person with less rigorous routines, showed peaks of the virus within a few months. The two schools studied aligned with a broader study; findings included rapid community testing, tracing and quarantine requirement are needed to safely reopen activities after the shutdown orders in the spring of 2020.
With this in mind, we will continue to be strict with our procedures of mask wearing, physical distancing, taking temperatures of all who enter our building, hand hygiene, tracing, and following of the IDPH COVID-19 EXCLUSION GUIDANCE flowchart.
Dr. Joy Mullaney
Sparks, S.D. (2020, August, 26). What should superintendents do when kids and teachers start getting sick? Education Week, 40(2), 9.