Township School Districts United in Safety and Prevention Efforts
Posted on 03/06/2020
Wilmette Public Schools
New Trier Township logos
March 6, 2020

Dear Families,

School districts in New Trier Township are working collaboratively with each other and with local agencies and public health officials as we monitor developments regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). The situation is rapidly evolving, as is guidance from public health agencies on potential school responses.

Our primary concern is student safety and wellness. While at this time we do not have any local cases in our schools, all of our school districts are preparing in a number of areas so we can keep students safe and continue instruction in case of a large number of absences or a potential school closure. This email covers three topics: (1) steps schools are currently taking to keep students healthy, (2) preparation for remote learning in the case schools are closed, and (3) spring break family and school travel. There are still many unknowns about this illness, and we are preparing for any number of scenarios.

Proactive steps our schools are taking now to keep students and staff healthy

All of our schools are employing extra cleaning and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of any virus, including COVID-19. These extra steps vary from district to district but include keeping soap, wipes, and hand sanitizer stocked in bathrooms and classrooms and wiping down high-contact areas more frequently.

We also want all students and staff with a fever or virus symptoms to stay home. Our teachers and administrators will work with your students to create a plan to make up work if they have an extended absence. It is important not to come to school if you feel sick. Please know that our school nurses may ask additional questions when parents report an absence to make sure we have as much information as possible to offer guidance and make sure students are healthy.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus is for students and staff to follow the CDC’s recommended guidelines for staying healthy. We have been sharing this information with families and students regularly, including:

  1. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of tissue in trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  6. Stay home when you are sick.

Delivering instruction in case of a school closure or many extended absences

All of our school districts are also preparing e-learning plans so that we can continue instruction even if schools are shut down or if a large number of students must stay home. Each district will communicate its own plan with parents and will give both parents and students specific instructions in the case that one or more e-learning days are used. Please watch your email for information on e-learning and more specific guidance as we develop these plans, which must be approved by the state before they can be implemented.

Spring break family travel

The CDC has launched a frequently updated website on COVID-19 that is a good reference on the virus. This website also includes information for travelers, and we recommend that you visit this page for the most up-to-date travel warnings if you are planning a trip during spring break. We are monitoring closely and will send out any additional guidance next week.

School districts are making contact with specific groups of parents on issues such as planned school trips, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. We all will use our normal parent emergency notification systems should we need to close school or inform parents of a specific development related to COVID-19.

Thank you as always for your partnership in keeping all of our students safe and healthy. Sincerely,

New Trier Township Superintendents

Kari Cremascoli, Wilmette District 39
Trisha Kocanda, Winnetka District 36
Crystal LeRoy, District 38
Kaine Osburn, Avoca District 37
Paul Sally, New Trier District 203
Ed Stange, Sunset Ridge District 29
Catherine Wang, Glencoe District 35