Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School (O-School)
COVID-19 Response Updated March 31, 2020


As part of the public health response plan to COVID-19, Governor Pritzker announced that all schools in Illinois would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In compliance with this mandate, school and service delivery has moved to an extensive remote platform that includes e-learning, e-therapy and e-social support to our students. Within 24 hours of the initial mandate, the dedicated professionals at the O-School established continuity of learning and therapy plans to address each students’ academic, individual, and therapy needs during this time. Over time, these services have been enhanced to include parent support groups, social, recreation, and student leadership opportunities as well.

Additionally, essential administrative and support staff continue to operate during this time, including Admissions, Human Resources, Financial Operations, and Maintenance to ensure the school grounds are maintained, employees are paid, and facilities remain in good repair. For additional information, please see the FAQs below.

With no students on site, a deep cleaning of the facilities has occurred, including classrooms, living spaces, washrooms, kitchens, sports equipment, and all surfaces throughout the campus.

This is an unprecedented situation for us all, and we have greatly appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience as we have navigated this pandemic. We will continue to stay in close conversation with local, state, and federal agencies on the best practices and understandings of how to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus within and around the O-School’s community.

Any important updates will be shared as quickly as possible with our school community by e-mail and available on the O-School website as well as on O-School and BWC social media. Questions may be directed to info@oshool.org.

Thank you for your partnership and understanding.


Diana Kon and Pete Myers


To see and download the O-School eLearning Plan go here.


The Illinois State Superintendent has outlined two singular priorities for all students statewide, and the O-School intends to ensure that these priorities are met for all of our students and families:

  • Ensure all students’ nutritional needs are met: The O-School students have safely returned home.
  • Ensure all students have access to remote instruction through whatever means possible: Teachers and administrators have developed distance learning plans for all of our students. The O-School has lessons online and has delivered paper packets to families that have indicated they do not have available internet connectivity or devices. Teachers and counselors are reaching out to families on a regular basis to assist wherever possible. We are so grateful to all of our families and students that continue to actively participate in learning at home. Our teachers and administrators are committed to providing the best educational opportunities during these unusual times.

We have updated our Question & Answer document below for the latest information. Please take a moment to review this as it will answer most questions.

Q. Will the O-School be making-up these days?

A. The Governor announced that schools are transitioning from “Act of God Days” to “Remote Learning Days.” All these days count toward the school year, and as such, no days need to be made up.


Q. Will the O-School still be operating during the closing?

A. The Governor’s mandate is to close all school buildings to students and, as such, the O-School’s building will not be operating during the mandated closure period. The therapeutic and educational teams will continue to provide services remotely during this time, and essential staff, including our Admissions department, will continue to function as normal.


Q. Is the O-School looking at changing its Spring Break Schedule?

A. The O-School will continue to provide educational materials, and learning opportunities to all students during the spring break dates April 6 through April 10.


Q. Will the O-School be providing meals to students during this time?

A. No


Q. Is the O-School still taking applications for new students?

A. Yes. The O-School’s Director of Admissions continues to accept admissions inquiries and conduct interviews with families and students during the closure via video conferencing. Due to scheduled graduations, the O-School currently has projected openings for the summer and fall. To learn more about the O-School’s therapeutic day and residential programs, please visit our website. If you have a child or loved one who you believe may benefit from the O-School’s services, please visit our contact page here or call our director of admissions, Kristin Friesen, at 773-420-2891.


Q. Will the O-School’s administrative office be open, or will there be any staff at the buildings?

A. The O-School’s office will be open each day with Student Services available from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. At least one administrator will also be in attendance at the school for the duration of the mandated closing.


Q. How will the closure impact the administration of the Spring 2020 State-mandated assessments such as the IAR and Science assessment?

A. The Illinois State Board of Education has canceled the administration of the IAR exam for the 2019-2020 school year.


Q. Is the O-School still planning to hold IEP meetings during the closure period?

A. The O-School staff is working with families and school districts for each student with a scheduled IEP and is conducting these meetings as planned using remote technology. We are grateful to say there have been no interruptions to IEP meetings.


Q. What is the O-School doing to prepare for the safe return of students when the Governor’s order is lifted?

A. The O-School custodians have been working diligently alongside building maintenance staff to perform a comprehensive deep clean and sanitization of the O-School building prior to reopening. The O-School installed additional sanitizing dispensers in strategic areas throughout the building and has a large stock of disinfectant wipes for use on shared computers. School personnel and the nurses will continue to monitor absences of both students and staff, and instruct students on proper hygiene techniques, including handwashing, not touch faces, etc.


Q. Will there be any O-School field trips be taking place for the remainder of the year?

A. No.

This is an unprecedented situation, and we recognize that you may have more questions. Administrators will be available at the O-School office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer any other questions that you may have. Thank you, be safe, and we will work to keep you updated as we learn any new information.