Back to School graphic

January 3, 2022

Dixon Public Schools families and staff,

Happy New Year!

There is a lot of information since the CDC has issued new guidance regarding isolation for positive cases and changing protocols for those that have received the first two doses of the vaccine, but not a booster - as of now, none of it applies to Pre-K – 12 schools in Illinois according to the IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education.  

I believe this will continue to be a topic of discussion throughout the state next week and I will issue a revision to this letter when more information is available. Until then, our protocols for positive cases remain the same as the first semester.  If we are issued additional guidance, we will apply it.

Parents need to be ready to pivot to remote learning should our numbers warrant it.  I will continue to monitor our numbers daily.  If we need to move to remote learning, the turnaround will be quick.  Please get your plans in place now to ensure a smooth transition for you and your students.

We will continue to be vigilant in our layered mitigations in the days to come in order to continue in-person learning.  While I understand our community has different views on how COVID should be handled, I am extremely concerned about not having the requisite staff available to continue in-person learning if we let down our guard at all.

We are asking for continued patience and support as we come back to in person learning this week. We all know that COVID numbers are very high in our region and this is impacting our health care system tremendously per my conversations with local health officials. The good news is that in the readily available data, we are currently maintaining or decreasing our case prevalence compared to when break began.

Free rapid testing for staff and students will be available Tuesday, January 4, 2022 for anyone who may need it.  Rapid testing will occur at the Dixon High School cafeteria from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. tomorrow.  A parent must be present for a student to be tested.  Testing takes at least 15 minutes, so plan to be at DHS while you await your results.  Social distancing and masks will be required prior to entering door 12 at Dixon High School. 

Thus, to start the new year, I have a few requests for you.

  • I can’t stress this next statement enough….if your child has symptoms DO NOT SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!!! 
  • If your child has symptoms, please take advantage of our on-site, free COVID testing, or seek offsite testing through your physician or local COVID testing sites. 
  • If someone in your home has symptoms or has COVID, follow the protocols that have been sent by our nurses and err on the side of caution 100% of the time.  
  • If you have questions, please contact our nurses.  They will be on-site beginning Wednesday, and are a great source for guidance and information.

One thing I believe everyone can agree on is that we want to continue in-person, daily, face-to-face instruction. As we navigate changing guidelines, please understand that our administrators and health services staff are absolutely doing the best they can.

I’m asking everyone to please be kind to our teachers, principals, and nurses as they try to navigate ever-changing CDC, IDPH, and ISBE changes and updates.

As we move into 2022, I am confident that we will meet the challenges that lie ahead.  I’m looking forward to starting our second semester together, and will continue to communicate as we carefully monitor COVID cases in our buildings.  

Thanks for your continued support. #GoPurple  #DPS170


Margo Empen


A PDF version of the letter can be opened via this link