Good afternoon. Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11. Anyone who is old enough to remember that day will likely never forget where they were when they heard the news and watched the awful events unfold. I hope that we all remember the sense of unity and purpose that followed the attacks as well as how the nation came together in a unified response.
It seems that now more than ever we could benefit from that sense of community and support. While the challenges that we have faced in 2020 are very different from those of 2001, we have certainly been tested. I am proud to report that we have made it through the first three weeks of school with a strong sense of unity and purpose. I cannot thank our teachers and staff enough for their hard work and dedication. They have created a positive school environment and have done their very best to welcome students back to school.
I also want to thank our parents and family members for their hard work and support of the students and the school. This has not been easy on families. The new schedule and online learning have forced homes to make adjustments and to be flexible. I appreciate the sacrifices that are being made both here at school and at home to make reopening possible.
Looking ahead, we will be taking some steps to try to improve the online learning experience. These steps include:
Deployment of wifi access on all of our busses. This will allow students to use Chromebooks on a bus coming to and from school. Our student-athletes will be able to have internet access while traveling to away events. If needed, we can use the busses as internet hotspots in areas where internet coverage is spotty. We are expecting delivery of the access points some time next week, and we will have them up and running as soon as possible.
Distribution of Verizon hotspot devices. We have currently distributed about 100 AT&T hotspots to families. In some of the areas of our district, AT&T coverage has not been adequate to support the hotspots. We are hoping that the Verizon devices may fill a void. We will send a notification when those devices are delivered and ready to be shared.
Issuance of new Chromebooks to replace aging devices. Today, we received a shipment of new Chromebooks that were ordered last spring. A number of our students have older devices that need to be retired. It is our hope that the new Chromebooks may connect to hotspots more effectively and are more reliable. It will take some time to set up the devices, but we will have them in student hands as soon as possible.
As we continue to move forward, our student health screening will continue. If you drive your student to school, I want to remind you to please enter the east parking lot from Pine Street or from the southbound lane of North West Avenue. Please do not try to enter the parking lot from the northbound lane of North West. Traffic approaching from three directions causes confusion and could put students at risk.
Finally, I want to encourage everyone to continue to follow health and safety practices. I know that the IDPH guidelines have generated debate in our community. However, following those guidelines in all public spaces provides us with the best opportunity to keep our school open and our students safe. So I am asking that everyone please do their best to follow those guidelines.
Again, thank you all for the dedication you have shown to our students and our school. Please enjoy the weekend.