August 14, 2020

Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members, 

As we near our start of the school year, we grow more excited to welcome our students and staff back to campus for the first time in nearly six months!  We continue to be encouraged by the ingenuity, creativity, and resolve we share as we work to surmount a challenging situation together. While there are a variety of opinions and ideas on how to best meet our challenges, our school community has always demonstrated resilience. I truly believe there will be brighter days ahead. In the meantime, we know this school year will be very different for all of us.  It is important we recalibrate our expectations to match the current context.

As we approach the start of the school year (August 27 for students), I am sharing several important updates from the District.
  • Updated Health Guidance - IMPORTANT The Illinois Department of Public Health has released a new FAQ  related to the health/safety guidelines and expectations surrounding how schools manage COVID-19.  We are working on a user-friendly version to send out next week.    Please take a moment to review this informationGiven the current guidance, it may be necessary for students and staff to quarantine/isolate on a frequent basis. We have plans to flex students and classes in/out of in-person and remote learning based on these 7-14 day absences.  Details will be shared with families prior to the start of school. 
  • Travel Restrictions - Starting yesterday (August 13, 2020),14 days prior to arriving on campus for the start of school, we expect families to greatly limit travel to reduce the risk of inadvertently bringing the virus to school. If your family plans to travel, you need to follow the Cook County Health Department's travel guidance and quarantine protocols. Please reference this guidance from the Cook County Department of of Public HealthYou must contact the school nurse next week if your child(ren) need(s) to be in quarantine due to travel and will miss school.  A form will be included in the principals' communication on Monday.
  • Symptom Tracking - PREPARE NOW! In advance of the school year, the District is sharing a sample tracking form  for your family. Please review the form so you are aware of what will need to take place DAILY before school for both students and staff (for those who will be on campus).
  • Kindergarten Information - For Kindergarten families, here is a recording of yesterday's Zoom session regarding the Kindergarten experience in 2020-2021. Thank you to all who attended live!
  • Preparing our Schools for a Safe Return - Our annual required staff training and professional development series will include sessions on health and safety protocols related to preventing the spread of  COVID-19, to include proper mask wearing and hand washing. Sessions relating to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will need to be completed prior to the first day with students.  In addition, there will be time dedicated during Institute Days to review district initiated health and safety measures, available PPE, cleaning procedures, movement within the building, cycle of outdoor spaces and arrival/check-in procedures.
  • Public Service Announcement - Health/Safety Practices Please enjoy this public service announcement from the District, Winnetka Police Department, Winnetka Fire Department and Village: 
    PSA from The Winnetka Public Schools, Village of Winnetka, Police and Fire Departments
    PSA from The Winnetka Public Schools, Village of Winnetka, Police and Fire Departments
  • Tips for Preparing Children for School - If your child is planning to attend in-person, it is important that they practice wearing a mask for at least 3 hours at a time.  Practicing now, as we lead up to the school year, will pay dividends as far as readiness and compliance with our guidelines.  Also, think about how you want to set up your at-home learning station for the remote part of the day.  You can access a helpful link here.
Together, we have a shared responsibility to foster safe and healthy practices within our community. This starts in each of our homes and extends to our schools and beyond. Thank you for taking time to read through the details of this letter. Stay tuned for additional communication from our schools and District next week. We look forward to welcoming our families (especially those who are new to the District) and staff back to campus in the coming weeks.  


Dr. Trisha Kocanda

August 18 School Board Meeting
The School Board meeting will be held on August 18 at Carleton Washburne School in the Band Room (515 Hibbard Road in Winnetka) and via Zoom. There will be a 7:00 p.m. hearing on the FY20-21 Tentative Budget. The Regular Meeting is at 7:15 p.m. and includes the following presentations on the agenda:
Reopening 2020 Plan Update: Focus on Hybrid Schedule & Expectations 
Public seating is limited to 18 seats to adhere to social distancing requirements. Seating for the public is on a first-come, first-served basis. All guests must wear a face mask and social distance inside the meeting room. Any individuals who arrive after the room is full will need to join remotely. No overflow seating will be available.
Public comment for the meeting will occur both in person and also by email. Those joining remotely and wishing to make public comments should email prior to 6:55 p.m. on August 18th and note if they want the email message read at the meeting. Please note, the Board will be following policy and limit public comment to three minutes - however, if there is a high volume of public comment, the Board may need to limit the amount of time dedicated to public comment in order to efficiently conduct business (in accordance with temporary rules adopted by the School Board at its July 30, 2020 meeting). The Board President may decline to read some or all written comments aloud or may read only such portions of written comments aloud as time permits, then make the written comments available on the District's website after the meeting.
To participate via Zoom:
Passcode: 36Wins36
Or Telephone: +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 958 1638 8663
Passcode: 438360
If you have technical difficulties accessing the meeting, please contact tech support at 847.501.5465.

The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in 
an innovative, experiential environment. We support and challenge all learners 
to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make 
a meaningful difference in the world.  

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