Superintendent Updates logo

Date:   July 29, 2021

To:       DPS #170 Students, Parents, Guardians, and Staff

From:   Margo Empen, Superintendent of Schools

RE:      CDC Updates, Information, and What We Know So Far



I am sure there are a lot of questions with guidance coming out from The Center for Disease Control (CDC).  I am providing information on what we know so far as I continue to review information to construct a plan to return to school. 

CDC’s new mask guidelines for schools:

The CDC came out with revised guidance on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.  (CDC Guidance)

To summarize, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place. 

Masking is universally required on buses and school-related transportation.  The CDC’s order requires that regardless of the mask policy at school, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on a school bus. 

Is DPS #170 going to require masks for all students when school starts in the fall?

This question has not been currently answered.

Why hasn’t this question been answered yet?

When it comes to mask mandates for the start of school in the fall, there are several items we are still observing and determining. 

Conflicting & changing information – The information we are receiving is changing day to day and is conflicting.  We have received information on masks being optional for vaccinated students, and today we received guidance for universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.  My administrative team and I are taking all the information we receive very seriously to help develop a plan.  We are consulting with our local healthcare officials, attorneys, peers, and Board to ensure we understand what is being said to develop the best plan for our students and staff.

As you can imagine, this changing and conflicting information is extremely frustrating for everyone involved.  I hope to have a decision on masks for the start of school next week.

What do we know about the start of school?

  • Registration continues at all of our buildings.  If you haven’t registered your child for school, please go to the school your child will attend to register them.  School buildings are currently open from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday.  You can also register your child at the District Office.  The District Office is open from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • We will resume our regular start and end times for each school.  The first day of school is on Monday, August 16, 2021.  School dismisses at 11 a.m. on this day as we have a School Improvement half-day in the afternoon.  Below are the start and end times for each school.

Washington Elementary                      7:45 am – 2:15 pm

Jefferson Elementary                          7:45 am – 2:15 pm

Madison Elementary                           7:45 am – 2:15 pm

Reagan Middle School                        7:45 am – 2:15 pm

Dixon High School                             7:45 am – 2:15 pm

  • Free breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided for all students. 
  • As of now, P.E. classes at DHS will dress for class.  This is subject to change if local or school metrics warrant a change.
  • Social distancing of 3 feet between students will be implemented to the extent possible. 
  • Layered Prevention Strategies from last year are still in place.
    • Cleaning & Sanitizing of Schools
    • Hand washing breaks for students
    • Hand sanitizing stations
    • Bottle filler fountains will be on
    • Screening test (Binax) onsite
    • Promoting vaccinations
    • Ventilation
    • Encouraging sick individuals to stay home

  • We will no longer take temperatures upon entering a building or require our Daily Symptom Checklist to be filled out.