March 13, 2020 is a day to remember at Esperanza. Esperanza School organized an in-service for all staff, which was abruptly cut short mid-morning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That same afternoon, Governor Pritzker ordered all schools to shut down for the month, an order that continued to be extended through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Fast forward to Spring of 2021 and Esperanza students have been learning remotely for over a year.

However, we are excited to announce that Esperanza School has officially reopened April 19 for all students! 

“Our families experienced significant hardships during remote learning and the pandemic and we’re thrilled to welcome our students back into our building and start to build a new structure, routines, and a sense of normalcy,” says Anne Hellmer, Esperanza School Principal. “Our staff remained committed to supporting our families and providing consultative, academic services throughout the past year. I’m so grateful for our staff’s hard work over the last year, and am even more proud of how they’ve displayed dedication to reopening safely for our families!”

While some students will attend in-person, about 40% of students will still remain in remote learning, as families were given an attendance option. Teachers and staff are committed to providing both in-person support and remote support by streaming live lessons to students who are at home. 

Students will attend school in-person Mondays through Thursdays; on Fridays, the facility will undergo deep cleaning and all students will learn remotely. 

Additional safety procedures have been put into place:

  • Daily health symptom screenings for students & staff
  • HEPA filters in all classrooms
  • Increased facilities cleaning
  • Masks worn at all times
  • PPE available for students & staff (gowns, gloves, masks, face shields, goggles, etc.)
  • Sanitization stations and electrostatic disinfectant sprayers
  • Limited number of students and staff per classroom to safely social distance
  • Individual school and learning supplies for all students 
  • Staff will be cleaning with students every 2 hours to not only properly sanitize, but also to teach vocational and daily living skills
  • On Fridays, through the 4th quarter, the whole school will engage virtual learning in order to deep clean and sanitize classrooms, offices, bathrooms, etc.

Many of these protocols were supported by community members and donors, and Esperanza is incredibly grateful to those who invested in creating a safe environment for our students and staff!

“We are incredibly excited to see our students in-person and continuing to support all of our families! Thank you to everyone who has worked collaboratively with us — staff, parents, donors, and partners–to ensure our return back to school was safe and seamless,” says Anne.