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Members of Barrington High School Class of 2019

While still holding out hope for in-person graduation ceremonies this summer, Northwest suburban high schools have begun making preparations for virtual commencement exercises.

On Monday, Barrington High School Principal Steve McWilliams said a virtual graduation is an option, in lieu of what was a planned commencement Friday, May 29, at Willow Creek Community Church. But McWilliams said the school is awaiting further guidance from the state about social distancing and crowd-size limitations.

The Saturday, May 16 senior prom is canceled, he said, but a committee of administrators and parents has formed to see if the event can be rescheduled in July or August. If not, he suggested it could be part of next fall’s Homecoming, or even winter break.

“I can’t emphasize this enough: once we know what the expectations are, what the standards are, we are going to do our very best to celebrate you, the senior class,” McWilliams told students in a YouTube video Monday afternoon.

Read more here.

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J.B. Pritzker listens intently in the background as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot dictates policy in Springfield.

Dr. Brian Harris, Superintendent of 220 schools, issued the following update Friday shortly after J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois public and private schools would closed for the remainder of the school year: 

“Dear Barrington 220 Community,

This afternoon Governor Pritzker canceled in person classes at all Illinois schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Given the current public health crisis and the need to put everyone’s health and safety above all else, I’m sure this news does not come as a surprise. However, I share your disappointment, as I know many of you, including myself, were holding out hope that somehow our students and staff would be able return to our school buildings before the end of the year.

I know this announcement brings forth many questions about how to pick up items left in our school buildings, summer school, BHS graduation and other big end of the year events, just to name a few. Please know the district has been working on a plan for all situations. More information will be coming from your school principal on these topics and many others over the next few weeks.”

What we cannot begin to comprehend is why Pritzker chose Friday afternoon to devastate the moral of thousands of students, teachers and parents. 

He makes his daily update addresses each afternoon, so what harm would have come from announcing the news today instead Friday? The answer is none, and that’s inexcusable. 

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s second in command, J.B. Pritzker.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to order that the state’s schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus crisis, sources told the Tribune.

Shutting down the state’s schools was one of the first major moves by Pritzker to address COVID-19 before issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday said she expected an announcement to come soon. Though she said she hasn’t discussed keeping schools closed for the rest of the school year with Pritzker, Lightfoot said she would like to talk with him before he announces any decision.

“We have not had that conversation yet with the governor, although we are hearing that he might make some kind of announcement later this week,” Lightfoot said.

Read more here.

Editorial note: As we stated Monday, Lightfoot has been calling most of the shots statewide since the onset of this “crisis.” No consideration whatsoever was likely given to closing Chicago Public Schools for the remaining school year while gradually re-opening suburban schools.

 

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 intends to spend about $2.6 million on summer building projects. Some of the scheduled work will be new gymnasium flooring for $77,207 at North Barrington Elementary School.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 is expected to spend about $2.6 million this summer on building projects across the system, with the list including construction of a playground, new roofing and parking lot repaving.

Some of the work includes:

  • Roofing repairs for a combined $575,639 at Roslyn Road Elementary School in Barrington, Countryside Elementary School in Barrington and Lines Elementary.
  • Parking lot paving for a combined $638,575 at buildings across District 220.
  • New gymnasium flooring for $77,207 at North Barrington Elementary School.
  • Electrical panel and conduit repairs for $38,720 at Barrington Middle School-Station Campus that became necessary after damage from a water leak.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members Tuesday night approved a six-figure flooring project for a grade school as a result of a commitment from the building’s Parent Teacher Organization to pay half the cost.

About $60,000 will be donated by the PTO at Hough Street Elementary School in Barrington toward the flooring project. District 220 will pay the other 50% for the building’s new interior surface.

“The reason we took it on this summer is because the PTO of Hough has offered to pay 50% of the cost of the floor remodel,” Altshuler said during Tuesday’s session, “and as a result we decided it was too good to pass that up, and we have money still in the existing (operations and maintenance) budget that we’re going to use.”

Read more here.

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To comply with social distancing requirements, the Barrington 220 Board of Education is making a few changes to its upcoming Board meetings.

The next regular scheduled meeting will be held at the District Administrative Center on Tuesday, April 7 at 7 PM. The only Board member who will be in attendance is Board President Penny Kazmier, along with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Harris. Other Board members will participate in the meeting via Zoom video conferencing.

Public comment can be made in one of two ways:

  • Attend the Board meeting to speak in person, while following social distancing guidelines that will be implemented as needed. 
  • Submit your comments via email by sending them to Board President Penny Kazmier at pkazmier@barrington220.org. Please use the subject line “Public Comment”.

As usual, the meeting will be streamed live so the public can view it virtually. If you wish to view the meeting live online, visit: bit.ly/220schoolboardlive

 

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Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris, third from right, was among officials to stand with Gov. J.B. Pritzke March 13, 2020 at the Thompson Center in Chicago when the governor announced that all K-12 schools statewide will be closed for a period of time in an effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“This afternoon Governor Pritzker extended the “stay at home” order for all Illinois residents until April 30. 

This means all Barrington 220 school buildings will remain closed to students through at least Thursday, April 30. 

However, school is “open” in the virtual format. During the entire month of April we will continue implementing our Distance Learning Plan (click to see FAQs) on weekdays. The state has deemed these “Remote Learning Days”, which will not have to be made up at the end of the school year.

As we recently communicated, under the Remote Learning Day declaration, students will be held accountable for their assignments. Teachers will grade student work and while students can not fail a class during this time period, if they do not engage, they will receive an incomplete on their report cards. If you have questions, please follow up with your child’s principal. 

During the month of April, Barrington 220 will continue to provide meals to students in need. Meals will be dropped off at students’ homes on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2pm and 5pm. Each Tuesday, two breakfasts and two lunches will be provided per child. Each Thursday, three breakfasts and three lunches will be provided per child. On Thursdays, additional food will also be provided generously from Barrington Children’s Charities. If you wish to add or discontinue drop-off meal service, or have any questions, please contact Yazmin Aceves via email yaceves@barrington220.orgor call (847) 842-3534.

While we miss our students at our schools, we know this is what we have to do to keep everyone safe during this uncertain time. Over the past couple of weeks, the Barrington 220 community has come together in remarkable ways. Whether it’s delivering meals to families in need, or teachers driving through our students’ neighborhoods to spread some cheer, we will continue to work together and navigate this challenge.”

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