On the same day President Donald Trump announced a national state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, local schools announced sweeping closures that will last for weeks, if not longer.
All public and Catholic schools in Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside are closing their doors, though not all at once.
After school recesses March 13, students at Komarek School District 94 in North Riverside, all schools in Riverside School District 96, Riverside-Brookfield High School and Lyons Township High School will not return to classes on campus until at least Tuesday, April 7.
RBHS and LTHS will implement their eLearning initiatives from March 17 through March 20. Spring break for both schools is scheduled for March 23 through March 30. ELearning resumes at both schools the week of March 30.
While classes are scheduled to resume on April 7, it is possible that could change. All after-school activities and athletic events at both high schools will be suspended at least through April 6.
Riverside School District 96 will begin its eLearning program on March 18 after two days of teacher preparation. Spring break for D96 is also slated for March 23-27, after which eLearning will recommence through April 6.
Brian Ganan, superintendent of Komarek School District 94 said in a letter to parents that the K-8 school would close at the end of the school day on March 13. Families will receive a separate email from Principal Jason Gold, laying out the district’s alternative learning plan.
All Komarek-sponsored activities, including before and aftercare are canceled, along with third-party use of the district’s facilities.
Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 officials announced that its schools would close as of March 16 and that its “continuity of education” plan would commence March 17. More information about that plan will be sent to parents in an email.
However, both S.E. Gross Middle School and Brook Park School will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 16 in order to allow students to collect critical items needed for at-home study.
All of the school district’s activities and athletic events have been suspended until further notice and all field trips have been canceled through May 1.
In LaGrange-Brookfield School District 102, which serves the southwest quarter of Brookfield, students have been told to report to school on Monday, March 16 but will begin alternative learning days on March 17, which will continue until April 6, with the exception of the March 23-27 spring break.
School District 103, which serves the southeast quarter of Brookfield, is also asking children to attend classes at their schools on Monday, March 16, when they will receive activity packets with assignments to be completed after the schools close their doors on March 17.
Classes are expected to resume in D103 on April 13, intentionally waiting until a week after spring break as a precaution against someone who may have traveled and is carrying the virus.
Catholic elemnetary, high schools closing
The Archdiocese of Chicago announced the closure of all its elementary schools in Cook and Lake counties, including St. Mary School in Riverside and St. Louise de Marillac School in LaGrange Park, effective March 16
“At this time, we have not determined how long this closure will last,” said Jim Rigg, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese in a letter to parents.
Students will still be asked to complete assignments through eLearning or alternative learning programs in place.
The decision to close schools came in conjunction with a decision by the archdiocese to suspend all church services, effective the evening of March 14. The only exception to the order are weddings and funerals scheduled for March 14.
Churches may remain open in spite of the suspension of services for private prayer, at the direction of local pastors.
In addition to grade schools, area Catholic high schools are also closing their doors.
Officials at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park notified students and staff on Friday morning that the high school would close on March 16 and will begin eLearning days on March 17.
The plan at this time is to resume classes on March 30, but that could be subject to change due to the evolving situation.
In addition, all after-school events and athletics have been suspended through April 19. The cancellations include the school’s spring musical and a planned summer travel-abroad trip to France.
Also closing effective March 16 are Trinity High School in River Forest and St. Joseph High School in Westchester. It is not clear when those schools will reopen at this time.
Meanwhile, Peter Groom, principal of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, said in a letter to the school community on Fenwick’s website that all athletic and extracurricular events had been canceled for March 13-14 and the status of those events moving forward would be determined on March 16.
Fenwick will not make a decision on closure of the school until March 16, Groom said.