Bull’s Board Corner: February 22


Nolen Stevens

Superintendent Hank Thiele presents an update about the 2020-21 school year. This was the first in-person Board meeting since Oct. 19

Sam Bull, Editor-in-Chief

Hey, students. This is a series of news updates by me, Omega Editor-in-Chief and District 99 Board of Education Student Representative Sam Bull, that is designed to inform you, the DGN student body, of the most relevant changes, decisions, and updates from the most recent Board of Education meeting. In other words: this is exactly what you need to know from every Board meeting.

Last night’s meeting was short and sweet—here’s all that you need to know: 


2020-21 School Year Update: 

According to a presentation from Superintendent Hank Thiele, 77% of District 99 staff has been administered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As of right now, the 14-day rolling average positivity rate for the District’s five zip codes is 4.42%, and the new cases per 100,000 on a 14-day rolling average is 234.2. While that second statistic is still high, the positivity rate is well below the 10% that would send us back to fully remote, so we can expect to remain in the hybrid model in the coming weeks if the numbers stay the same.

Thiele attended a CDC webinar recently outlining some additional guidance regarding school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the most significant pieces of guidance from the CDC that Thiele outlined in his presentation are as follows: 


  • Unless there is an outbreak, schools should continue in-person learning once they have started it.
  • Saliva screening provides additional protections to remain in person, but it should not be required.
  • K-12 schools should be the last institutions to close after all other mitigation strategies (masks, distancing, etc.) have been implemented and the first to open when it is safe (essentially, schools should be open before almost anything else).
  • Families of students with increased risk of severe illness or who live with individuals at high risk should be given the option to stay fully remote.
  • Schools are encouraged to use cohorting (grouping) of students.


The only thing that has changed since this guidance to superintendents from the CDC is that saliva screenings have now become optional. Thiele stated that additional guidance from the CDC will be coming in March.

Thiele also mentioned in his presentation that a task force is being created to develop recommendations for a full in-person model for after spring break. Steps will be taken in the coming weeks to develop such a model and decisions will be made regarding its implementation at a future Board meeting in March.