Ian Cox

D128 closes LHS, VHHS, District Office

On March 13, District 128 schools were closed for three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an email sent out to students and parents, Libertyville will be utilizing its e-learning program starting on Wednesday, March 18.

This plan will last until April 6, when the administration hopes to be able to re-open the schools. On Monday, March 16, students can go to school between 8 a.m.-2 p.m. to collect anything needed from their lockers.

We ultimately decided to close school because it became clear to our administration, as well as many other school districts across the state, that schools needed to close to keep students and families safe and to help slow transmission rates of the virus,” said LHS Principal Dr. Tom Koulentes over email.

The district’s announcement came shortly before an announcement by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker saying all Illinois schools will be closed through March 30. District 128 has complete autonomy in its e-learning program.

The closures are a preventative measure the district and Libertyville High School is taking, and it is not due to an infection or confirmed case of the virus, according to an announcement by Dr. Koulentes. According to the district’s communication, the health of students is the number-one priority, and this closure is to make sure students stay safe and healthy.

On e-learning days, students will be required to participate in school and will record their attendance on a Google Form. Teachers will communicate lessons, assignments and reminders with students each day before 9 a.m.

“For a short period of time, I think [e-learning] will allow student learning to proceed without much impact. If we need to conduct e-learning for a long period of time however, I think it might become more difficult for students,” Dr. Koulentes said. “I suspect some very interesting and creative lessons will be developed by our staff that will challenge students to think and learn in innovative ways.”

Exams and other assessments are allowed during this time but will be given in alternative ways.

AP Exams are still scheduled to commence as normal.

All events through April 6 have been cancelled, but it is unclear what will happen to events after that date, such as prom and graduation, Dr. Koulentes said.

Following an announcement by Dr. Koulentes on March 12, District 128 has cancelled all after-school activities. All extracurriculars were cancelled, which includes state and regional tournaments for IHSA sports.

All domestic trips over spring break were cancelled, following the elimination of all international trips. International summer trips were also cancelled, along with field trips. In addition, Writers Week was cancelled.

“[Libertyville High School] follows directions from the Lake County Health Department, the State Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. And right now, for schools, we are following their safety precautions,” Dr. Koulentes said.

Every day after school, the cleaning staff had been doing a deep cleaning of surfaces that are frequently touched by students, using a cleaner with an anti-virus base, according to Dr. Koulentes.

“We’re working hard to educate [people] about staying home if you’re sick, not coming to school when you feel sick, washing hands frequently using hand sanitizers and washing hands properly to kill germs,” Dr. Koulentes explained.

Libertyville High School and District 128 have been monitoring the news and the latest information and are deciding how to act based on this. 

Ultimately, Dr. Koulentes wanted students to know, “I am very proud of our students and our staff because we have stayed very calm during this time period… Our students and our staff have all been working together to take care of each other and to help each other stay calm, to stay safe and to feel supported during this time. That is what we do as Wildcats — we protect each other, and we help each other.”

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