By Rob Parrott - Almond Campus Principal

  • April 7, 2020

    Good Afternoon (Almond Campus Students and Parents) Blue Devils!

    I hope this message finds you safe and healthy!  I cannot thank you enough for the flexibility and resilience you have provided us as we have moved Warren Township High School into an eLearning environment through April 30 (possibly longer) per the new extended mandatory school closure from the Governor.  You are doing great work, and I appreciate hearing all of the great comments our teachers are sharing about you during this process. 

    On March 31, Governor Pritzker extended the mandatory school closure and the use of remote eLearning days for Illinois schools through April 30. While we will be prepared to have our faculty, staff, and students back on campus as soon as May 1, we are also planning for the realistic possibility that we may finish the year in our current eLearning format.

    At the same time, we also recognize that a school is much more than the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom.  Part of what makes Warren Township High School so special are the amazing opportunities we offer to our students outside of the classroom environment.  

    As the Principal and also as a parent, the experience for our students is critically important to me.  I feel bad for all of you and especially our seniors because this is not how any of us wanted your high school career to finish, but we are at a point that I have to make some tough decisions.  

    At this time, any event scheduled prior to May 4 has been canceled. I am working with our administrative team to develop a plan for the events that would impact our typical closing ceremonies for our students in the event that the school closure is extended beyond April 30. Specifically, our awards nights (Cum Laude Recognition Night and Senior Awards and Scholarship Night), Prom and Graduation. In regards to students in co-curricular/athletics, we will follow the recommendations given by the Illinois High School Association to determine if those seasons will resume. The latest information we have from the IHSA potentially cancels all spring athletics and activities if the school closure extends beyond April 30, 2020. 

    While we wish we could say when the exact dates will be, we hope that you understand the very uncertain nature of planning school events these days. What is most important for us is to follow the advice and guidance from the State of Illinois, our local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines (social distancing, group size, etc.). With that said, we have determined that the Cum Laude Recognition Night and Senior Awards and Scholarship Nights are canceled. Those that are awarded scholarships will be contacted directly if they are the recipient of an award or scholarship. However, we are moving forward with the following plan for Prom and Graduation:

    • PROM:  Having Prom on May 9, 2020, is no longer a realistic option for us and it is canceled.  However, we know this is an important event for our students. We are hopeful we can have Prom later this summer at the Almond Campus and have a tentative date set for Friday, July 10. This dance would follow a similar format of our homecoming dance as a result of the current difficulty of finding vendors to provide the same experience as an off-site location. In addition, this event will only be for current WTHS (junior and senior) students. No outside guests will be allowed. With that being said, we are still following public health and CDC guidelines, and that may impact our ability to host the event.  Having Prom is tentative as planning and executing this event for typically over 1,000 students will be challenging given the current uncertainty.

    • GRADUATION: My highest priority is to have a graduation ceremony at the Sears Centre to recognize and honor the Class of 2020!  It is very important for us to be able to honor and celebrate the hard work of our senior students and to share in that experience with their families and friends. While we continue to hold out hope that we will be able to have our graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17, we are also tentatively planning to hold graduation on Sunday, July 12, at the Sears Centre if our initial date is no longer an option.  We cannot imagine missing the opportunity to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our seniors with their families and securing a later date could allow this to occur.

    My goal has been to avoid canceling these major events, and we hope that you are willing to live with some uncertainty until we know if the school closure will extend beyond April 30, 2020, when we expect to be able to make a more informed decision on how we may be able to move forward.  Please note, again, these dates are tentative, and the ultimate decision will be driven by consultation with our state and local health departments and information received by the CDC guidelines.

    In summary:

    • All school events scheduled prior to May 4 are canceled.
    • Co-curricular/athletics - To be determined by the Illinois High School Association.
    • Cum Laude Recognition Night is canceled.
    • Senior Awards and Scholarship Night is canceled.
    • Prom - May 9, 2020, is canceled.
    • Prom - Tentatively July 10, 2020, at the Almond Campus.
    • Graduation - May 17, 2020 (if allowed back in school May 1).
    • Graduation - Tentatively July 12, 2020 (if school closure extends beyond April 30). 

    We anticipate more details will be coming in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, please be sure to visit our website www.d121.org for latest news and updates.

    Thank you and As Always, Go Blue Devils!

    Mr. Parrott - Almond Campus Principal
    rparrott@wths.net
    #WeAreWarren

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