MHS announces calendar changes; locations to pick up student lunches


School office to remain open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily

MENDOTA - On March 16, Mendota High School issued the following information regarding the closing of schools and the availability of student lunches for the next two weeks.

To further safeguard Illinois residents from the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker declared mandatory school closures for all buildings, both public and private, serving pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students. This mandatory closure takes effect Tuesday, March 17. Schools anticipate reopening on March 31.

Superintendent Jeff Prusator noted that the high school business office will remain open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Pending no additional closure dates added by the state, the school calendar will be revised. MHS will be in session (have school) on April 6, 7, 8 and 9 instead of having spring break that week. There will be no school on Friday, April 10 for Good Friday. 

Lunch will still be available to all MHS students during the closure. A satellite lunch-sack meal will be provided for students. All students under the age of 18 may pick up the sack-meals between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or go to the listed MHS bus stop at the scheduled time for that location.

It is very important to complete the food survey on the MHS website or phone MHS at (815) 539-7446 daily by 1 p.m. (or for the whole week) so they have an anticipated lunch count for the following day. Ask the person who answers the phone to put your name on the list or use extension 523 or 525 and leave a message.

Lunches will be available to pick up at the MHS cafeteria and at several bus stops listed below.

Mendota High School Cafeteria - pick-up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Park in front of the high school and go through the main entrance into the building foyer for pick-up. Students are not allowed to stay and loiter at the school.

Bus stop locations - an MHS bus will be positioned for approximately 30 minutes for lunch pick-up/drop-off at the following locations:

West Brooklyn bus stop, 11-11:30 a.m.

Compton Post Office, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Troy Grove Park, 11-11:30 a.m.

Triumph Post Office, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Lincoln School, 11-11:30 a.m.

Meriden Grain Elevator, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Northbrook School, 11-11:30 a.m.

Blackstone School, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

MHS is committed to keeping students engaged in their learning during this statewide school closure. District 280 is fortunate to have 1:1 Chromebook Learning devices. MHS teachers are also preparing paper-and-pencil options for students who do not have access to the internet at home. Students may also download prepared materials to work off-line on their Chromebooks.

“As of 10 a.m. on March 17, MHS Principal Denise Aughenbaugh reported that 342 students had logged in to work on continuous learning activities. “We are proud of our teachers and students and parents for their efforts at continuous learning during the school closure,” she said. “We will only get better at this format as the days go on.”

Students who can utilize e-learning are encouraged to log into the E-Learning Attendance form posted at www.mendotahs.org (Google Attendance Form). Students without internet access may call (815) 539-7446 to report their working attendance with office staff. To supplement these services, everyone is encouraged to engage their children in other free, online educational activities. The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled a library of resources at www.isbe.net/keeplearning.

Concern over this new virus can make students anxious. It is very important to remember that teenagers look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, a teenager’s anxiety may rise. Adults should reassure students that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy.

Students also need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk, so the focus of the conversation should be on concrete instructions about how to avoid infections and the spread of disease. Teaching teens positive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infections can help reduce anxiety. Please talk with your student about precautions they can take to stay healthy, including:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if hands are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is a suitable alternative. Consider showing students a video about proper handwashing technique available at www.cdc.gov/handwashing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay home if you are able to stay home. Avoid travel if you can.

The National Association of School Psychologists has additional guidelines about talking to children about COVID-19 at https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource.

The public will be informed as quickly as possible about any further changes to school services. Anyone with questions, please do not hesitate to contact MHS Superintendent Jeff Prusator or Aughenbaugh at (815) 539-7446.

“Thank you for your extraordinary support over the past several days, as we have worked together to protect our community during the growing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your partnership, and we will get through this together.”

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