On Thursday, April 30, Elim received the following update from the Illinois Department of Human Services: “With the extension of the Governor’s Shelter in Place order until May 31, we want to confirm that CDS sites will remain closed. We ask that CDS providers not resume services until the Division provides official notice to do so.” CDS sites refers to programs like Elim’s adult services. Therefore, we anticipate the program will remain closed through May 31, 2020.
All schools in Illinois received the following notification about the status of Extended School Year (ESY) 2020 from the Illinois State Board of Education:
“The Governor’s Restore Illinois plan to reopen the state places in-person schooling in Phase 4 of five phases. Most regions in Illinois are experiencing Phase 2 as of early May. Schools and districts should plan to conduct summer school via remote learning in 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. Remote learning for summer school will mean that learning will continue to occur outside of the traditional classroom; educators and students will remain physically separated.”
While the reality of ESY via remote learning only may be a difficult one for any of us to handle, I want to affirm and encourage us as we move forward.
Elim’s leadership team is actively planning for eventual re-entry. As we do so, foremost on our minds is the safety of our students, participants, and staff. Our recent focus has been on securing all needed personal protective equipment (sanitizer, gloves, and masks, etcetera) and we are actively collaborating about re-entry plans for both the school and adult service programs. As our plans crystalize, we will begin initiating staff training to prepare for that re-entry.
DON’T MISS UPDATES: To ensure you do not miss these important notifications, please connect with either Jill Brokop in Children’s Services (Jill.Brokop@elimcs.org), or Anne Wierenga in Adult Services (Anne.Wierenga@elimcs.org) to let them know your contact information. Please also note that you will be receiving notification phone calls from a different phone number than with previous phone calls. Please add his new number to your address book to ensure you do not miss future notifications.
First of all, I am so absolutely impressed by the ways that Elim staff and Elim families remain connected and supportive of each other. What you are tasked to do, which is to make programming progress in a remote only world, is very challenging. Your creativity and resolve are truly humbling!
While we are all doing our best in the midst of a pandemic and shutdown that none of us wanted and that all of us would like to see end, it is important that we remember that we are not in this alone. We have each other and of course God is with us each step of this journey. The Bible is full of stories of people who encountered unbelievably challenging, often prolonged circumstances that stretched them beyond what they felt they could bear. Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, even David all found themselves crying out for help.
In the book of Numbers God gives us a glimpse into a situation with similarities to what we are facing at Elim in the midst of this unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic. During a seemingly endless and back-breaking wandering sojourn through the desert, Moses calls out to God in Numbers 11:10-15 and says:
“If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death, right now.”
God responds to Moses in Numbers 11:17 by:
“Taking the Spirit that is on you (Moses) and also putting it on them (70 of Israel’s leaders), so they will help you carry the burden.”
In the midst of a difficult journey with no immediate end in sight, God surrounds Moses with partners. That’s what God is doing for us at Elim as well.
God has not only given us each other to help carry the heavy load, he has brought in other partners as well. Just four of the many examples from this past week alone:
Elim family, while there is a heavy load we are asked to carry right now, let’s not lose sight of God who surrounds us with like-spirited people to help share the burden. So be encouraged, you are not in this alone, we are all in this together!
For accurate and complete information regarding Covid-19 infections in the state of Illinois, we recommend that you refer to the infection information provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC. The following articles include stories that connect to or directly impact the Elim community. Please be in prayer for our friends and ministry partners living at or working in adult residential settings.
Adapted from Northwestern University
Once we do return to our campuses, standard precautions for Elim clients, students, staff, and families will apply. It is important to reiterate that the best way to protect ourselves is to continue to employ the standard precautions that we employ everyday:
In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 the Elim community has taken the following additional precautions through at least April 30, 2020:
Elim is committed to fostering an environment that empowers people to come forward and report if they are ill. Stigmatizing COVID-19 will only make us more anxious and ensure community spread. In that spirit, we provide you with the following additional information:
We appreciate your partnership as we take every precaution to keep our community safe.
Dr. Bill Lodewyk
on behalf of the Elim Coronavirus Task Force and the Elim Leadership Team