COVID-19 Updates

This page will be maintained regularly with school related  COVID-19 information. 

June 29, 2020

We would like to share this information sheet from the Illinois State Board of Education as it will guide the decisions we will be making in the best interest of student safety, while following state mandates.

ISBE Guidance FAQ

June 23, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We hope this message finds you and your families safe and well. Today, the Illinois State Board of Education released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year. 

This 60-page document has been much anticipated and will go a long way toward answering critical questions all of us share about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing masks, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy. It has been our goal since the beginning to do everything we can to resume in-person instruction when it is allowable to do so. While no plan will please everyone, rest assured we are doing all that we can to plan for good experiences moving forward.

Today, the Governor and State Superintendent discussed the need for our schools to follow mandated guidelines such as social distancing, wearing of masks, and limiting groups to 50 or below in spaces within each school. The Governor and ISBE spoke about a hybrid model of instruction that may need to be implemented given the guidelines above. This would force students to go to school on different or staggered days and times. We know this places a potential major burden on parents. The Governor also stated the need for schools to be flexible and be ready to return to remote learning if the metrics state the need to do so. Again, now more than ever, we will need your patience as we plan for and navigate these changes based on the guidelines we received.

Right now, we don’t have all the answers to the questions in this document as it was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as we thoroughly review this detailed guidance and implement the suggestions into our district’s own transition plan. We know some of the information and implementation measures contained in this document may be out of our control, but it is intended to keep our students safe, as difficult as the messages and allowances may be.

Manteno School District is aware of the need to communicate to families about what to expect next school year and anticipate releasing our own transition plan as soon as possible, most likely around Mid-July. As soon as we are comfortable with the plan, we will release it to parents and try to provide as many answers to questions that may be out there. We are not holding back information, but simply trying to send out our procedures without having to change them. Items to be discussed range from transportation guidelines, effective sanitization measures, and potential school closures and quarantine issues. There is so much we will need to review and plan for to get this right for our community. We must firmly state that it is our goal to return to in-person instruction as soon as we can.

The administrators have been working to brainstorm multiple scenarios and discuss considerations as we move forward with the guidelines and what we must now implement. We know that our environment may need to look different as we transition through the different phases, but we are committed to the continued education of the whole child. Our commitment to providing opportunities for all students will continue.

Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as the district navigates a situation that none of us could have imagined.

We appreciate your support!
We are in this together!

Lisa Harrod

June 5, 2020

Good Afternoon!

I hope you are all doing well.

We wanted to provide you with an update of what is happening behind the scenes to plan for next school year. Right now, we are waiting for guidance and specific criteria from the state. Until we know what is expected, it is very difficult to plan exactly what returning to school will look like in the fall. While we would like to provide you with more information, we are hesitant to release any documents or plans without these expectations and be in a position where we would then need to significantly alter what was prematurely communicated.

We have multiple scenarios we are planning for right now, placing the health and safety of our students and staff above all else. These include starting school as we always have, starting on remote learning, staggering the number of students in our buildings during the traditional school hours, etc. As soon as we have definitive information, we will share our transition plan.

We appreciate your patience as we work to reflect on remote learning practices from the spring and a return to in-person instruction as soon as we are able to. We miss our students greatly and are grateful for the support you have shown all of us during these uncertain times.

Stay safe and well!
April 21, 2020


When Friday's announcement was released about in-person schooling being canceled for the remainder of the year, we knew that many questions would be raised. We wanted to provide you with information about two of our most frequently asked questions at each of our buildings.

1. How will Manteno Schools collect and distribute materials?

At this time, anything in your possession that is Manteno School District property (ex. Chromebook, Library Book), should remain in your possession until next school year. Items that need to be collected will be communicated out with a specific plan by each building administrator.

For example, High School Seniors will need to turn in their Chromebooks. Building specific communication will come from Mr. Schnitzler on how to turn in the Chromebooks.
2. Will I be refunded money for school activities that never took place?

Yes, all school activities that did not take place will be refunded, in check form, to parents. (ex. Field trips, Spring participation fees). Building level Administrators and Administrative Assistants will be working together to get these checks refunded and mailed out as soon as possible. We will not be applying credits to accounts but rather issuing checks.

We know that there are more questions out there. We appreciate your patience with us and we continue to navigate through this unprecedented time in education. We will send out more communication from each building as decisions are made.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building level administration.

Thank you for all of your support and have a great week!

April 17, 2020

Good Afternoon,

In anticipation of the Governor's announcement about the end of in-person schooling for the rest of the year, I wanted to send you some important changes and information about the district calendar.

Please know how much we all miss our students and how we will plan to come back stronger than ever as that is what we do in Manteno! We will find opportunity amongst the challenges...together. You have all been amazing supporters to us and it has not gone unnoticed.

For our 8th graders and Seniors, we are thinking of you and are in the process of planning celebrations for you that are allowable under these circumstances. We will be sending information out soon. Thank you for being patient and know you have not been far from our thoughts.

Here is our updated information:

Last Day for Seniors: May 8th
Last Day for 8th Graders: May 21st
Last Day for Remote Learning: May 22nd (This reflects a change from our amended June 1st date)
The remote learning days and teacher planning days will continue as scheduled until the 22nd.

We know you have so many questions about picking up student belongings, etc. and we will work to send out additional information as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience.

Thank you for everything...stay safe and healthy!

Lisa Harrod

March 31, 2020

Good Afternoon,

Today the Governor extended the Stay-at-Home through April 30th. During this time, our schools will remain closed and procedures we proactively put in place to address this anticipated extension will remain the same. Principals and teachers have been sending out information regarding remote learning plans.

I cannot say enough about the dedication of our administrators and staff during these trying times. They have stepped up and have put plans in place that are truly in the best interest of our students and school community. They are so deserving of our respect and admiration.

We will continue to have our Grab and Go food service at the high school on Mondays from 10am-1pm. The technology staff will continue to be problem-solving during these hours as well.

The high school will be our main site of operations during the mandated stay at home. By having one designated location, it will help us keep information open and less confusing for parents. Please watch for updates from our schools on other areas such as packet work distribution, etc. that will be added over the next few weeks.

As always, we are here for you to assist in any way. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

We are truly stronger together!
Stay Safe and Well,


March 29, 2020

Good Afternoon,

I want to start by thanking all of you for your patience as we face these challenging times together. We are making the very best of everything by doing all we can to support each other.

Our last Act of God Day will be Monday, March 30th. Per our Governor, we will begin Remote Learning Days.

The Goal of our Remote Learning Days is based on a quote received from the Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines. "Identify a focus of keeping children emotionally and physically safe, fed and engaged in learning." This will be our foundation as we move forward navigating uncertain times.

We have been working on streamlining the resources and activities that we will send out on these remote learning days. There will be a good flow for students that is easy to follow, and more scheduled activities that students will enjoy.

We understand that many of you are still working and are doing the best you can to create a balance with everything happening in our nation. We appreciate your patience more than you know. Our wonderful teachers are creating amazing things and cannot wait to continue to keep our students engaged.

The specifics of what the remote learning days will entail will be posted by teachers using Google Classroom and other platforms that students are familiar with.

The teachers will be utilizing two planning days for our remote learning.

The schedule for next week is as follows:

Monday: No remote learning, Last Act of God Day.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Teacher Planning Days. No Remote Learning.
Thursday: First Remote Learning Activities posted.
Friday: Remote Learning Day.

We anticipate these Remote Learning Days will continue until April 7th. We are scheduled to return to school on Wednesday, April 8th. If the Governor extends this closure, we will be in contact immediately and continue our remote learning days.

There will be three additional Remote Learning Planning Days to allow for teachers to collaborate in case we are extending school closures. To be proactive, we will share those now:
April 17th
May 1st
May 15th
There will be no Remote Learning on these days if we need to utilize them for teachers to plan.

Assignments will be posted each morning shortly after 8:00 am. Teachers will be sharing information through email for students. Students can work on activities throughout the day. All teachers will communicate deadlines.

Each Remote Learning Day from 11:00 am-1:00 pm, teachers will be available for questions, engaging activities with students, etc. Another way to look at this is it "Live" teacher time.

Teachers will also be available and ready to answer any questions you have each day. Teachers will also be reaching out to students to make sure they can access information, etc. They will also be contacting students that are not engaged during the remote learning days to see if any additional support is needed.

Beginning Thursday, all assignments and report card grades will move to a PASS/INCOMPLETE for the remainder of the year per the Illinois State Board of Education. This allows us to provide each student the ability to be successful without the fear of failure during these unprecedented times. We encourage our students to do their best.

Elementary School students are going to receive materials from their teacher electronically. At any time, if any Student in our district, at any school needs packets of work due to the inability to access electronic materials, we will be happy to work with you to provide you that. Please contact the building principal directly so we can create a plan to get those materials to you.

Thank you for your support and partnering with us! We truly appreciate how well our community is there for each other.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us by email directly. We cannot answer questions in detail through social media.

Have a great week ahead!
Stay safe and well!

Lisa Harrod


March 28, 2020

Good Afternoon,

While schools remain closed at this time, Manteno CUSD No.5 is committed to providing meals to all students who need them. Grab-and-go meals will be provided every Monday from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at Manteno High School. These grab-and-go packs are put together by our outstanding Food Service Department with enough food to cover the remainder of the week. If you have any questions about the grab-and-go meals please contact Lynn Davis at 815-928-7011.

Our Technology Department will also provide a Chromebook Exchange during this time. Non-functioning student Chromebooks can be brought to Manteno High School every Monday from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM and exchanged for a functioning Chromebook. If you have any questions about the Chromebook Exchange please email

Right now, the administrators are working on streamlining procedures for our new remote learning days as directed by the Governor and Illinois State Board of Education. Our last Act of God day will be Monday, March 30th.

We will be communicating more about the Remote Learning Days very soon.

March 20, 2020

Good Evening,

This afternoon, Governor Pritzker announced that all Illinois Residents will be under a Shelter-In-Place effective Saturday, March 21st at 5:00 pm through Tuesday, April 7th. At this time we are extending our mandated closure and will tentatively reopen for student attendance on Wednesday, April 8th. Included in this closure are any meetings, events, games, and practices.

Since next week was originally scheduled to be our spring break, teachers will not be posting assignments or providing additional resources during this break. We are awaiting information from the Illinois State Board of Education on the Continuity of Education for our students during this extended closure and then planning our course of action for student learning beginning again on Monday, March 30th. Once we have more information to share about the academic engagement of our students, I will be in touch. I truly appreciate your patience during this challenging time.

Our district has decided to do one more Grab-and-Go food distribution on Monday, March 23rd from 10:00 am-1:00 pm located again at the high school for students who truly need the assistance over spring break. Our Technology Department will also be present on Monday for Chromebook Issues and Trade-Ins during the same hours. We will be sending out more information about our grab-and-go meals for the week of the 30th some time next week.

Due to the Shelter-in-Place order, our buildings will be closed at this time. If you need assistance, we will still be checking voicemail and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please refer to our list of available resources should you need to contact us directly for any reason.

I will continue to communicate as I have more definitive information.

Thank you for your understanding and making our district and community so special.

Even in these challenging times, we will not lose sight of our responsibility to our students or our ability to come out of this stronger than ever!

Lisa Harrod

March 18, 2020

We wanted to provide you a resource list of people available to offer assistance and support if needed. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need anything during these unprecedented times.

RJ Haines: Undue Hardships for School District Families and Local and State Resource Planning
Contact information:, 815-928-7027

Lynn Davis: Food Service/Gran-and-Go Meals and Planning
Contact information:, 815-928-7011

Ryan Diedrich: Transportation Questions
Contact information:, 815-928-7003

Cathy Creek: Curriculum Resources
Contact information:, 815-928-7024
*Please contact your child’s teacher first with questions about packets, assignments, activities.

Jennifer O’Reilly: Mental Health Support and Social Emotional Learning Activities
Contact information:, 815-802-7450

Nancy Kaufman: Manteno CUSD No. 5 Staff Resources and Guidance
Contact information:, 815-928-7001

Tom Steele: Technology and Connectivity
Contact information:, 815-928-7006
*Available Mondays from 10-1 to address Chromebook issues during the Grab-and-Go Meal Distribution

We are thinking of all of you during these uncertain times to lend support and understanding.

We are Here,

Lisa M. Harrod

March 16, 2020

Manteno CUSD No.5 grab-and-go meals will start on Tuesday, March 17th. These meals are for any district student under the age of 18 and may be picked up at the front doors of Manteno High School between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Each student will receive one breakfast meal and one lunch meal per student per day.

If you know you will be picking up these meals please call Lynn Davis at 815-928-7011 between 7:00 AM and 9:30 AM or email at Walk-ups will also be served.

Our Technology Department will also be available on Mondays during the grab and go meal hours at Manteno High School to assist with Chromebook concerns and trade-ins.

If there are other needs or hardships during this time please contact our Coordinator of Behavioral Support, RJ Haines at 815-928-7027. He will be able to assist you in connecting with various community and state resources.

March 15, 2020

Good Evening Manteno School District Families,

As you know, the Governor took the unprecedented step of mandating the closure of schools until March 31st. Please note in previous communication, and based on the latest information available on Friday, I had stated that we will return on March 30th. School will not be in session on Monday, March 30th. We will tentatively return to school on March 31st. We have changed Emergency Days to Act of God Days per the Governor. 

Things are rapidly changing, but we want to do our best to remain calm, vigilant, and prepared. 

Here is the summary: 

  • School is open Tomorrow, March 16th during normal hours. (See Statement Below)
  • Act of God Days Begin on Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30th. 
  • Spring Break will Remain Spring Break: March 23rd-March 27th.
  • Act of God Day Monday March 30th
  • School Tentatively Resumes on Tuesday, March 31st. 

We have talked so much about Resilience and Having a Growth Mindset with our Students, Staff, and Community. These are the times we need to rely on each other the most. We feel your support and please know how much we appreciate it. 

We had sent out communication last Friday afternoon that we would remain open tomorrow per the Governor's Address. We plan on remaining open to provide closure for students, provide parents with an extra day to plan for the mandated closures, and to distribute packet work/engaging activities. 

​​​​​​​We will remain open tomorrow, but ask that you please use discretion in deciding what is best for you and your family. If you choose to keep your children at home tomorrow, it will be considered an excused absence. We understand we are in challenging times. Packets for Early Elementary can be picked up at a later date if your child is not in attendance tomorrow. We will communicate those logistics as soon as possible. We are hoping that by remaining open, we can assist parents while absolutely being diligent about CDC recommendations, limiting interactions, etc. 

We believe in doing all we can to be responsible to our taxpayers and providing educational continuity for our students during Act of God Days. We will be communicating with families and working on engaging opportunities for students. These may come from a variety of sources. Although these activities cannot count as Instructional Days per the Illinois State Board of Education, we want our students to feel supported, stay motivated and continue to be excited about school!

Our buildings will be closed to students during the Act of God Days, however, we are working to set up a list of phone numbers where you can reach out to communicate any undue hardships, ask for additional resources, inquire about mental health supports,activities for social emotional learning, etc. We will also be setting up food Grab and Go packages during the closure period. We appreciate your patience as we work to put those procedures in place and will communicate as soon as possible. We will remain here for you should you need anything in these unprecedented times. 

I will communicate any changes when we are made aware of them. We are facing uncertainty in the days ahead. We know our students take direction from all of us and we will make sure there is extra good in their worlds.

For now, build those forts, hug your children, engage in great conversation, and show them the power of a community that takes care of each other. 

Thank you for understanding and allowing us to do the very best we can! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 


March 13, 2020

We were notified this afternoon that our Governor has issued a mandatory closing for all schools starting on Tuesday, March 17th. We will be open on Monday, March 16th and taking emergency days from Tuesday through Friday. We will then be on spring break. We are planning on coming back to school on Monday, March 30th. If anything should change during this time and we need to extend the closure, we will send communication as soon as possible.

In summary:

- We are open on Monday, March 16th and looking forward to seeing our students.
- Emergency Days: Tuesday through Friday (March 17-20)
- Spring Break: March 23rd through 27th. School resumes March 30th.
- There will be no engagement days during this time. If the timeline for mandatory closures is extended, we will start our Engagement Days and more communication will follow.

We have all spent the last 24 hours preparing for a variety of scenarios. I am so proud of our school district for the collective response and professionalism shown under these unprecedented times.

Thank you for your understanding and support. We will see students on Monday.

Have a great weekend!
Lisa Harrod

March 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are going to be using an Emergency School Improvement Day tomorrow, Friday, March 13th. Dismissal will take place at the following times:

- Elementary School at 10:55AM (PM & Headstart Preschool Classes Canceled)
- Middle School at 11:05AM
- High School at 11:15AM
No Lunches will be served.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our area, we remain vigilant. The last 24 hours have been unprecedented and I have not seen a scenario like this in my 18 years as an administrator. It is necessary for us to use the time tomorrow to plan in anticipation of any closures that may occur. We are taking our guidance and direction from the CDC, The State of Illinois, Illinois Department of Public Health, Kankakee County Health Department, and the Illinois State Board of Education. They will be the ones charged with making the ultimate decision to close our schools or allow us to remain open. I truly appreciate your understanding as we work together to navigate these challenges.

The following information will apply in the case of a forced closure. We are going to do everything we can to keep our students in school but need to provide you with information in advance so communication is open and transparent.

In the case of a forced closure occurring, in the best interest of our students, staff, and the community, we will be using our 4 remaining emergency days, moving our last day of school this year to June 5, 2020. After that, the district will be using Engaged Learning Days. These days will engage students in meaningful and relevant activities aligned to the standards and meant to enhance mastery and transfer of information. They will be asking students to complete activities and assignments that are creative and practical. As this is a new journey for us, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Each teacher will send home an email about how the days will work. They will be available each Engaged Learning Day from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. This will be time to answer questions, interact with students, etc. Assignments and activities will be posted each day at 8:00 am. Sometimes they will contain a reminder to complete an activity or assignment that spans more than one day. Support will be available and we understand and will work through any issues with internet access, etc. Elementary School Activities will contain a balance of some pencil and paper work and other modes of instruction.

Manteno CUSD No. 5 is committed to the continued education of our children. We know we are facing challenges during this time but are here to support you and ease the uncertainty that exists right now.

Thank you again for your understanding, patience, and support.

We are so fortunate to live in this community!

Stay Healthy,

Lisa Harrod

March 4, 2020

Dear Manteno School District Students, Staff and Families,

The health and safety of our students is our top priority, so we want to share with you information that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has published for schools throughout the state.

The good news at this time is that the health risk to the general public from coronavirus remains low. Currently, the IDPH recommends schools hold classes and events as usual, and follow routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures; no special measures are necessary. The IDPH also recommends the best way to protect against coronavirus is by taking the same everyday precautions against getting sick in general. These include:

- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We will continue to closely monitor recommendations regarding coronavirus (from the IDPH) and will update you as soon as there are any significant changes in recommendations for schools. Thank you for your support in helping to keep our school community healthy.

Lisa M. Harrod
Superintendent, Manteno CUSD No. 5