• Teacher Appreciation

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 5/5/2020

    It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

    All the employees of Sherrard School District are educators and each one of them deserves our appreciation.  This annual recognition looks a little different this year.  It will be quieter and there will be less food, but the level of gratitude from the stakeholders is higher than ever.

    Over the past couple months, everyone has had to rearrange the way they do education.  They had to learn new technology skills, do things out of their comfort zone and continue to work with little insight into where things were going.  Through it all, our educators persevere and remain focused.  They plan, teach, communicate and lead.  They clean, prepare meals, deliver materials, complete important paperwork, and repair things.  All of this has been done while social distancing and taking care of the needs and challenges of their own families.

    Thank you, Educators!  Your work is noticed and it is worthy of honor and celebration!

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  • WRMJ Public Service Announcement

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 4/7/2020

    Recently, local radio station WRMJ invited me to give an encouraging public service announcement about the COVID-19 crisis. They allowed me the freedom to create the message. I decided to make the speech about resiliency. Here is what I said.

    We are in the midst of a menacing challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps our nation and the world. Naturally there is anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Spending a lot of time in our homes can bring about boredom and restlessness.

    But let’s remember that we are tougher than the challenge. Americans and more specifically Midwesterners are known for their respect of hard work and an honest living, their common sense and their appreciation for the simple things in life like family and friends. They persevere through problems with a humble confidence. 

    In a 1940 speech, Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered up his blood, toil, tears and sweat to fight against the seemingly invincible enemy. Here in rural Illinois, we can offer up tenacity, stamina, composure and optimism.

    There are realistic concerns we all have about our health. Things are difficult and it could get worse, but it will get better. The dust always settles. We have to be strong. We can get through this together and let the greatness of the midwestern character shine forth.  


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  • Coronavirus

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 3/11/2020

    Over the past several months our world has been giving a lot of attention to the COVID-19 (commonly called Coronavirus) disease. The subject is sure to keep everyone’s attention for the foreseeable future. Sherrard School District is carefully monitoring all issues related to the Coronavirus and will take appropriate actions as necessary.  

    A committee has been established to deal with the topic of Coronavirus and it has developed an action plan. The District is monitoring the rapidly changing information coming from public health organizations and will make adjustments to the action plan accordingly. Communication with the school community is a top priority and subsequent reports will be issued as they are developed.

    Here is a list of priorities the Coronavirus committee has identified.

    1. Educate students about common-sense preventative actions. Topics will include hand-washing, face-touching, coughing/sneezing, staying home when sick and avoiding contact with sick people.
    2. Implement a heightened cleaning strategy for the buildings. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned more often, disposable wipes and hand sanitizer will be made available, and a mist of disinfectant will be applied to large surface areas like lockers and carpets.
    3. Monitor the number of students and staff who are absent and monitor the reasons for why they are absent. This information will be shared with county health officials as needed.
    4. Develop strategies for remote learning. Because a school closure could last for weeks, a plan will be developed to allow students to make academic progress during the closure. 
    5. Develop a plan for helping to provide food for students who have food insecurity.
    6. Effectively communicate with the school community and the media when there are new developments. Many agencies are posting frequent updates and recommendations. The District is connected to this information and constantly considers how it can apply to our local situation.

    How does the regular seasonal flu compare with Coronavirus? 

    The following highlights were cut-and-pasted from the following article:  https://www.livescience.com/new-coronavirus-compare-with-flu.html 

    Regular Seasonal Flu

    So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

    The CDC estimates that, on average, about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick with the flu each season.

    The death rate from seasonal flu is typically around 0.1% in the U.S., according to The New York Times


    In general, studies of hospitalized patients have found that about 83% to 98% of patients develop a fever, 76% to 82% develop a dry cough and 11% to 44% develop fatigue or muscle aches, according to a review study on COVID-19 published Feb. 28 in the journal JAMA. Other symptoms, including headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, have been reported, but are less common. 

     …researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Protection, analyzed 44,672 confirmed cases in China between Dec. 31, 09 and Feb. 11, 2020. Of those cases, 80.9% (or 36,160 cases) were considered mild, 13.8% (6,168 cases) severe and 4.7% (2,087) critical. "Critical cases were those that exhibited respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction/failure," 

    In the study published Feb. 18 in the China CDC Weekly, researchers found a death rate from COVID-19 to be around 2.3% in mainland China. Another study of about 1,100 hospitalized patients in China, published Feb. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the overall death rate was slightly lower, around 1.4%.

     …the death rate for COVID-19 appears to vary by location and an individual's age, among other factors. For instance, in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the death rate reached 2.9%; in other provinces of China, that rate was just 0.4%, according to the China CDC Weekly study. 

     …older adults have been hit the hardest. The death rate soars to 14.8% in those 80 and older; among those ages 70 to 79, the COVID-19 death rate in China seems to be about 8%; it’s 3.6% for those ages 60 to 69; 1.3% for 50 to 59; 0.4% for the age group 40 to 49; and just 0.2% for people ages 10 to 39. No deaths in children under 9 have been reported. 

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