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Robert Richardson
Monday, March 16, 2020

To all the people served by the Hoopeston Area schools, I want to give you some updates about the situation facing our area and our country concerning the COVID-19 virus and our response to the challenges surrounding it. First and foremost, the Hoopeston Area School family takes the health and safety of our students very seriously. As of this writing there are 93 confirmed cases in our state, several of which are located in central Illinois. Cases have been confirmed in Champaign, Coles, Clinton, Whiteside, Sangamon, Woodford, and Winnebago counties, among others near the Chicago area. Along with all other public and private K-12 schools in the state, we are complying with the mandatory school closures for Tuesday March 17th to Monday March 30th. As far as we know, school will be in session on Tuesday March 31st.
Schools will be closed Monday March 16th as well, in order to prevent the spread of illness. If your student is in need of a school lunch, you may pick up a student lunch at no charge to your family, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the following locations: 112 Coffee Shoppe, Rankin Lions Club, East Lynn Fire Station, or the Wellington post office. Lunches will be available on Tuesday March 17th, Wednesday March 18th, and Thursday March 19th. In addition, educational resources to allow your student to be engaged in home-based learning will be available for pick up during the lunch distribution hours. Building administrators will be available in the school buildings Monday March 16th, Tuesday March 17th, and Wednesday March 18th, from 8:00 am to 11:00 am and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm to allow students to pick up any needed learning materials.
Educational resources will be available for the specified days during week one of the closure, and the second week is our already-scheduled spring break. The possibility exists that the mandatory school closures will be extended but at this time I cannot confirm anything beyond the two week closure. I will post any and all updates to the school website. I will also utilize other resources such as Facebook, Twitter, Live Feed, and the newspapers to get information out.
Plans are underway to determine the best ways to proceed with student learning. If we return to school on March 31, we will continue with the school year as scheduled. If not, we will have a plan in place to help us move forward toward the completion of the 2019/2020 school year. We are taking extra steps to sanitize the schools and facilities. We encourage you to follow the recommendations of the CDC: wash your hands often, disinfect frequently used objects, practice social distancing when you need to be with other people, and self-isolate when you are sick.
This is an unprecedented situation in Illinois education, and we ask for your patience as we navigate through uncharted territory. Having said that, I know that we the people of Hoopeston Area are ready to pull together and meet the challenge. My wife likes to say, small towns make big hearts, and we have already seen evidence of that. As I have made my way through our area this weekend I have heard many people ask how they can help, and I am grateful to be living in a place where people take care of each other. When we are safely on the other side of this extraordinary circumstance we want to look back and say we did everything in our power to assist our towns, our state, and our nation. Stay tuned to the school website, and rest assured, we will get through this together.
Robert Richardson,
Hoopeston Area Superintendent of Schools