2020-21 COVID Updates

GRCS returned to in-person instruction on January 19, 2021.   For parents who opted to remain remote, our remote instruction will also continue at that time.  

Parents received a letter and a text confirming their choice of instruction on January 15, 2021.  

We are excited to continue to provide ALL remote scholars with free breakfast and lunch. All you have to do is fill out a meal order form each week.

Galapagos to Go Meal Orders 

Please note, that due to the changing nature of the pandemic and requirements related to it, these plans are subject to change.  Please review Frequently Asked Questions below and feel free to reach out to either campus for additional questions.  If you need the link to your child’s classroom, please click here.

Classroom Links

We will continue to add more information regarding the GRCS response to Covid-19 for the 2020-21 school year. (This page last updated on 5-1-2021.)

Please review the following regarding GRCS plans during the 2020-21 school year.

  • When does GRCS go remote? When will scholars be able to be in-person?

    GRCS returned to in-person learning on January 19, 2021.  We also are providing remote instruction after January 19, 2021.   All parents were asked on December 20, to provide us their  preferred option (in-person or remote).  We are happy to announce that we were able to meet the requests of all parents

    December 20– Parents were asked to choose to return to in-person or to stay remote- online form

    January 5– (Deadline for Parents to indicate that they will return to in-person or to stay remote.)

    • Preference for in-person will be given to scholars who were in-person in the fall.
    • Scholars who were remote in the fall but now want to be in person will be able to go in person if there is room in the classroom. (We will still be observing social distancing and reduced class sizes). 
    • If there are more scholars who wish to be in person than we can safely accommodate, we will randomly choose from the group of scholars who indicate that they wish to be in person (in a process similar to our lottery).
    • Parents who wish to be in person must have all paperwork including immunizations and physicals on file with the school.

    January 15- We will confirm with parents their assignment.

    We will not be able change scholars from remote to in-person after our deadline.

  • Why did Galapagos go remote from November 30 to January 18th?

    Galapagos Rockford went 100% remote on November 30 until January 18, 2021.  We did  this under the guidance of numerous health agencies including the CDC.  There was widespread concern that the holidays would result in an increase of infections.  Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are a time when people find themselves in close contact with a larger circle of people.  We felt that by going remote during this time period we would reduce the possibility of spread. 

    November 30 was the first school day after Thanksgiving.   Since the virus can incubate for as long as 14 days and the fact that winter break begins on Dec 18.   We decided that it would not be prudent to return for only 4 days (Dec 15-Dec 18).  Therefore, we decided to extend the remote to a two week period after winter break – January 15.  Since January 18 is MLK Day, we will resume our hybrid model on January 19, 2021.

    The way in which we have operated since August will facilitate our move to 100% remote.  Currently, 50%+ of scholars are and have been remote since August.  The other 50%, even though in-person, have been using chrome books in the classroom and submitting all work electronically.  Therefore, there will be little if any technology hurdles for scholars in the transition.

    Staff will continue to work on site every day.  Instructors will continue to  teach from their classrooms.  This will allow instructors to take advantage of the higher quality internet on site as well as our recently installed camera systems which enhance instruction.

  • Will my scholar have to wear a mask in school?

    Yes, scholars and staff will be required to wear a mask at school.  Masks must cover the scholar’s nose and mouth.   Galapagos will provide all scholars and staff with a reusable mask- although, scholars may also use their own mask.

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends masks in all situations in which social distancing cannot be maintained.  There is growing evidence that masks significantly reduce exposure to and contraction of the COVID-19 virus.

    Due to this fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have made it mandatory for all Illinois students to wear masks at any school in the state.

    GRCS scholars will have to wear mask on the bus as well as in school.  Scholars will be permitted to take masks off while eating lunch at socially distanced café tables.  Scholars will also be allowed to remove masks during certain wellness activities taking place outside.    

  • Will there be bus transportation for my child?

    Yes, there is bus transportation available for your child as long as:

    1. You live more than 1.5 miles from the campus that your child is attending.
    2. You confirmed by January 6, 2021 that you wanted you scholar to return to in-person instruction
    3. You filled out and agreed to the  COVID bus policy. 


  • What are the expectations for social distancing?

    Social distancing is a proven practice that helps reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  Generally, it is recommended to try to maintain six feet between individuals.  The reality is that within a school this is not always possible.  However, we are doing what we can to provide social distancing whenever possible.   The ways in which we are doing this include:

    1. Adding new furniture to K-2 classes that allow for more social distancing.  In years past K-2 scholars shared tables, they will now sit at individual desks like the 3-8th grade scholars.
    2. Posting signage throughout the school to indicate social distancing points (e.g. by the water fountains, the office and bathrooms.)
    3.  Scheduling meal service in the café that ensure that there is appropriate distance between scholars.
    4.  Galapagos has routed additional entrances for scholars at the Upper Academy.  This will allow for scholars to enter in small groups that allow for social distancing.
    5.  Scholars will remain in one classroom pod and will not move about the building.  This will reduce exposure to other areas.
    6.  GRCS has developed schedules and routines to ensure small group movements.  For example, scholars will go to lockers in small groups that are designed to ensure social distancing.
  • What is GRCS doing to ensure the campuses are clean and safe?

    The safety of our scholars and staff is our top priority.  In order to provide a clean, sanitary environment GRCS is

    1. Increasing cleaning rounds of the school on a daily basis.
    2. Implementing increased deep cleanings.
    3.  Providing all instructors with disinfectant cleaners in the classroom.
    4.  Installing hand sanitizing stations throughout the campuses.
    5.  Purchasing advanced cleaning equipment.  The UA and LA now both have advanced floor cleaning machines that will allow for more frequent cleanings in a quicker period of time.  This will allow staff to have more time to do even more cleanings.
    6.  Purchasing electrostatic sprayers that will allow staff to safely disinfect a classroom in 10-15 minutes.
    7. Purchasing chrome book carts that use ozone technology to fully disinfect a classroom of chrome books in 15 minutes. 
  • Will Galapagos conduct temperature checks?

    Galapagos requires that all individuals entering our campuses must have their temperature checked.  For example, all staff have their temperature checked when they arrive to school.  Similarly, all scholars will have their temperatures checked as they enter the school.   All guests will also be required to have a temperature check.  Any person displaying a fever will either be asked to go home or will have their parents contacted to pick them up.

  • Will scholars be required to wash their hands?

    Yes, all scholars will be expected to clean their hands upon entering the building.  For example, at our Upper Academy, portable hand sinks have been set up at each door so that scholars can use soap and water to wash their hands before they begin their day.  They will also be provided hand sanitizer at each entrance.  Scholars will also wash their hands before meals.  Additionally, scholars will have access to hand sanitizer throughout the day.

  • We are doing Remote Learning for the first time. What do I need to know?

    While we wish we could see scholars in person, we are so excited to offer to offer our strong remote learning programming from November 30 to January 18.   

    Since Remote Learning is new for some of our families we are offering a Remote Orientation for all parents whose scholars are new to participating in the remote option.  We believe this is a great opportunity for parents to understand the expectations and rules for remote learning.




  • With my scholar learning remotely, is there a way that they get meals?

    GRCS is happy to provide remote scholars with breakfast and lunch. Galapagos will provide a seven day supply of meals every Monday. Meals must be picked up between 11:00 am and 6:00pm on Mondays  at Academy you list on the following form.  Click here.

    For each of your scholars that you sign up you will receive a box that includes seven breakfasts and seven lunches as well as milk.

    You must sign up in advance to receive the meals.  You will need to sign up each week by the Tuesday of the week before.  For example, to reserve a box for Monday, November 30.  You must fill out an order form by Tuesday, November 23.

  • Will After School X programs continue after January 19?

    Yes, our ASX programs will continue.  We will also add some new programming for the third and fourth quarters. 


  • What happens after January 18? Can my scholar stay remote? Can my scholar return to in-person?

    All parents were provided with choice of instruction forms on December 20, 2020.  We are happy to say that we were able to accommodate all parent requests.

    We will not, however; be able to make changes from remote to in-person after January 6, 2021.


  • If my scholar is in-person can my scholar go remote on certain days?

    Unfortunately, no.  If your scholar has chosen to be in-person your scholar must attend school in person.   Even if the weather is bad or if your scholar misses the bus you child must be in school to attend class and be marked present.   The only exceptions to this are:

    1. Your child is not in school due to your child displaying COVID symptoms.
    2. Your child has been exposed to others who are know to have COVID.   (In either of these cases please inform the Dean of Culture of your child’s specific situation.)
  • What is the quarantine policy for GRCS scholars who display COVID symptoms?

    Based upon Winnebago County of Health Department directives, Galapagos requires that any scholar displaying COVID symptoms must be sent home to quarantine.   A scholar must meet one of the three conditions to return to school:

    1. The scholar  must get a COVID test (PCR) that results in a negative result.


    1. The scholar  must have a documented alternative medical reason (from a doctor) for the symptoms.  The documentation must state  that COVID is not the issue but that an alternative reason is the cause i.e. allergies etc.


    1. The scholar must quarantin for ten days.

    Siblings of a scholar who has symptoms must remain remote until their sibling meets one of the above or if the siblings is test and gets a negative result.

    Any known contact with a COVID positive individual  requires a 14 day quarantine .


  • What is the quarantine policy for GRCS scholars who have had close contact with a COVID positive individual?

    A GRCS scholar who has had close contact with a COVID positive individual must quarantine for fourteen days.  Additionally, that scholar must be free of symptoms for 72 hours before returning to school.

  • Are GRCS staff vaccinated?

    As of March 11, 2021, 71% of GRCS staff have completed the two vaccine shots.  Staff were vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine.   

  • What is P-EBT? How do I get P-EBT Benefits?

    The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit program operating during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT provides benefits for days that scholars are in attendance and learning remotely. In person scholars that attended remote learning for five days or more due to COVID-19 quarantines will receive P-EBT benefits for those days. Scholars will not receive P-EBT benefits for days they attended in person, days they were marked absent, or days they attended for less than five hours.

    Eligible scholars will receive a white Illinois P-EBT card in the mail with their name printed on the card. Each scholar will receive their own card. Cards will arrive in an unmarked envelope and may be addressed to parents or their scholar. Keep that card, as any future P-EBT benefits will be loaded to that card. P-EBT cards will reload every month through June 2021.

    All remote scholars are also eligible for Galapagos To Go boxes. These boxes contain fresh food are available for pickup every Monday. You can sign up for Galapagos To Go on our website.

    If you have any additional questions about P-EBT or Galapagos To Go contact Ms. Burris at lburris@galapagoscharter.org or call (815) 708-7946 EXT. 633

    If you have questions regarding how this program may impact other state benefit programs you are a part of please visit the Illinois Department of Human Services P-EBT FAQ using the link below.