D211 Post: Fremd Says Thank You to Health Care Workers

            Members of William Fremd High School’s sophomore class executive board wanted to say thank you to area health care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.  To do this, they collected more than 100 cards from students which were delivered to AMITA Health St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates.

            Fremd High School Science Department Chair Karl Craddock said the idea came out of a brainstorming session among the 54-member board.

            “They wanted to help raise the spirits of the students and outside community during this difficult time,” he said.  “While they came up with many great ideas, the one that they kept coming back to was Thank You notes for the frontline health care workers that are battling the COVID-19 crisis.”

            He said the student who led the planning and organization of the card drive was sophomore Manaswita Kodali.  She said her inspiration came from her own family.

            “I was inspired by the health care workers’ resilience and sacrifice during this pandemic,” she said.  “My uncle is an MD doctor on pulmonary medicine in India and he is also risking his life and my grandparent’s lives for the sole purpose of serving his community. Every day is full of fear for my entire family.”

Fremd Science Department Chair Karl Craddock (left) and sophomore Manaswita Kodali (right) deliver cards to Cate Osterholz at AMITA Health St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates.

            As part of her preparation for the drive, Kodali designed the cards and coordinated a plan for delivery to St. Alexius.  Craddock said that once the drive was started, students from a variety of groups pitched in to help.

            “We had students from clubs like the Red Cross Club and Student Council along with teachers and support staff contribute,” Craddock said.

            In only two days, the group had created more than 100 cards which were then delivered to St. Alexius where they were met with appreciation from the medical staff.

            Kodali said that she hoped this would not only uplift the front-line medical providers but teach her fellow students.

            “I want my fellow students to know that even the smallest form of appreciation towards the health care workers can make a big difference in their hearts,” she said.

            Craddock added that he hopes this sends a message of both unity and appreciation.

            “We hope that it sends the message that we are all in this together, and that during this holiday season, it is important to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe,” he said.  “In addition, take time to give thanks for our community front line workers who are working around the clock to keep us safe.”

D211 Board of Education Waives Student Fees for 2020-2021 School Year

           The Township High School District 211 Board of Education voted to waive the $170 instructional fee and $75 per semester student parking fee for the 2020-2021 school year at its July 16, 2020 meeting.  The move was directed to help families which have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

            In June, the Board of Education requested information on the possibility of waiving fees for the upcoming school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In a report presented to the Board, District Superintendent Dr. Lisa Small noted that approximately one-third of the students within the District currently have fees waived due to qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program.  The report added that a portion of those waived fees are recovered through federal Title I funding.

            The report estimated that waiving the 2020-2021 school year fees would total approximately $1.6 million.  It further noted that the District would offset the financial impact as it ended the 2019-2020 school year with a $4.5 million budget surplus that was largely a result of school closures and expenditure reductions during the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year due to the pandemic.  The complete report is available on the District’s website.

D211 Post: Schaumburg Student Named State Lead in Masks Now

            When many school districts, including District 211, switched to e-learning and state officials announced stay-at-home orders in March, Schaumburg student Emma Davenport said her family started looking for ways to keep busy.  They ultimately found Masks Now, an organization which pools the resources of volunteers to create and distribute masks across the country. 

            After a little more than a month of volunteering to coordinate communication and distribution, Davenport was asked to take on a new role. 

            “I originally got into the administrative process by making forms for requests and tracking distribution” Davenport said.  “In mid-April, the Masks Now national leadership reached out to me and asked if I was willing to take on the Illinois Lead position.”

            In her new position, Davenport coordinates volunteers across the state who perform a variety of tasks from deconstructing material, to sewers, and distributors.  Additionally, she works to secure material and financial donations and tracks construction and requests. 

            “There are many moving parts to this operation,” she said.  “At any time, I have more than 50 volunteers working on mask projects.  I have people contacting me to make donations.  Currently I have 12 pallets of fabric waiting to be turned into masks.”

            Davenport added that the current weekly production averages anywhere from 800-1,000 masks.  In spite of this, she said she is always looking for additional volunteers and donations.

            “We can always use more sewers and de-constructors as well as delivery drivers to offset shipping costs.” Davenport said.

            For more information on Masks Now-Illinois you can look them up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/masksnowil/ and Twitter @MasksNOWIL.  To make financial donations or to volunteer, email Masks Now Illinois at masksnowil@gmail.com