Last week, District 97, District 200, the Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park made the joint decision to close and suspend all programming ahead of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide school closure and President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oak Park schools, park district facilities and libraries will all be closed until at least March 30, but officials representing those districts said they’ll continue collaborating and offered tips on how students who are currently out of class and other community members can engage with them remotely.

“District 97 is always in close communication with our community partners, and that was the case this week as we worked together to develop plans to respond to the spread of coronavirus,” said Amanda Siegfried, D97’s communications director. 

David Seleb, executive director of the Oak Park Public Library, said library officials will “continue to monitor the information being communicated by our partner agencies” and will share information with the public and staff via the library’s website, email and social media. 

“That includes updates we receive from the other taxing bodies and other agencies, including the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition, Housing Forward and Beyond Hunger,” he said. “We will continue to communicate with our colleagues at our school districts and the park district and others to determine any other collaborative responses that would be appropriate in this public health crisis.” 

Meanwhile, patrons will still have access to the digital library, which has resources that area students can utilize during remote learning, or e-learning, days. And physical exercise isn’t out of the question. Families can still attend the public parks and dog parks under park district control, which will remain open. 

Staying (not) in touch

Below are some other ways families can stay in contact with Oak Park’s parks and libraries while the physical facilities are closed: 

The park district’s customer service staff will be available by phone during regular service hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons can also email the district at info@pdop.org. Patrons with questions can contact Diane Stanke at 708-725-2022 or diane.stanke@pdop.org. Visit the website: pdop.org 

Library officials said patrons can call 708-383-8200 and leave a message if they need information not on the website, or ask questions via oppl.org/contact. A library staff manager will respond as soon as possible. Visit the website: oppl.org. To stay updated on the library’s coronavirus plan, visit oppl.org/covid19. 

Library officials said that Comcast is now offering two months’ free service to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with COVID-19. See the eligibility requirements at internetessentials.com/covid19.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

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