RPS 205 families and staff,
It's been a month since we reopened our schools and began this unprecedented year. We are still adjusting to our new normal of masks, social distancing, one-way hallways, and arrows carefully taped to floors.
The Winnebago County Health Department has been consistent and clear in messages to our administrators and staff: School staff and students are doing an outstanding job keeping each other safe. So far, COVID-19 is not being spread within our school walls. We know that based on our extensive contact tracing and investigations with the Health Department and our own school nursing staff.
While Winnebago County's positivity rate has grown, Rockford Public Schools' positivity rate is at 1 percent for staff, and it sits at .5 percent for students. Media reports list each new case in our schools, and that can be alarming. But remember for every positive case in a school, a few hundred or even a thousand people at the school are not affected.
Coupled with the good news is some frustration. We are keeping our schools safe, in part, by sending all students and staff home who have any potential COVID-19 symptoms. For every symptomatic student sent home, that student's siblings are also sent home to isolate as a precaution.
This protocol is not popular. But it's required based on guidance from the Winnebago County Health Department, Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are complying with that guidance out of an abundance of caution. We can't take the risk of keeping potentially ill students and staff in school.
As cold and flu season gets closer and the weather cools, we expect students and staff will continue to show symptoms of cold and flu – and the Coronavirus. We will continue to be cautious and keep the safety of our students and staff at the forefront.
Please continue to monitor students and family members for potential COVID-19 symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.
We are in frequent contact with the Winnebago County Health Department, and officials acknowledge that in-person instruction is a priority for our community and our families. We will continue to share updates as we have them. We appreciate your collaboration and partnership during this time.
Rockford Public Schools