October 28, 2020

Dear Families,

There are a few items I would like to address this week, including health and safety compliance, Halloween, Thanksgiving travel, and second trimester planning. 
Halloween, Health Guidance & Observations
As regional community transmission metrics continue to elevate, it is important that we strictly adhere to health guidance in an effort to keep the virus out of our schools. 

Please view this short video message on this topic:

A Health and Safety Reminder from Dr. Kocanda, Superintendent of The Winnetka Public Schools
A Health and Safety Reminder from Dr. Kocanda, Superintendent of The Winnetka Public Schools

With colder weather and Halloween this weekend,  there are some areas we need to reinforce with the support of IDPH guidance:
  • Indoor parties or gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), wearing masks, hand-washing, or otherwise participating in prevention behaviors will result in a higher risk for transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. These types of gatherings are strongly discouraged.
  • If you take a COVID test or anyone in your household is awaiting COVID test results, regardless of symptoms, children in your family must stay at home. Please do not assume the test is negative and send students to school.  This decision impacts the safety and education of many others in the school if there is a positive case requiring quarantine.
  • Review the daily symptoms with each child, including checking temperatures.  Some students with the completed Crisis Go tracker report they were not asked about their health or did not have their temperature taken before school.
Please know we acknowledge many families are adhering to our protocols and appreciate the tremendous efforts.  In-person learning is such a priority - and it becomes more vulnerable as the virus becomes more prevalent in our region.  The added vigilance impacts how long we are able to sustain our hybrid programming for over 1,500 students.  Thank you for understanding our shared responsibility.   
Thanksgiving Travel and Gatherings
As we move into the holiday season, we remain committed to maximizing in-person learning while upholding our collective safety. With Thanksgiving approaching, we know some are considering traveling and potentially attending gatherings. As you determine how to celebrate the holiday, please keep in mind that the District's current plan is to resume in-person, hybrid instruction on Monday, November 30, 2020.  
If you travel to a state on Suburban Cook County's restricted travel list (accessed by clicking here) your child will need to quarantine for 14-days.  Given the potential volume of post-Thanksgiving travel quarantines, we will not be able to accommodate students on travel quarantine in our K-6 remote learning classes. Rather, students will access their remote part of the day Related Arts instruction and any asynchronous work provided by the classroom teacher. 
It continues to be the highest priority of the School Board and Administration to maintain the health and safety of our staff and students.  Please be considerate of our school community as you make your plans for the coming time away from our schools.
Planning for Second Trimester: Please Complete Commitment Form by THURSDAY, 10/29 (EXTENDED ONE DAY)
While we still have about four weeks of learning in Trimester 1, the District is now planning for Trimester 2 (November 23 - February 19).  A critical component in our planning is knowing how many grade-level students to accommodate for in our in-person hybrid or full remote model.  The District remains committed to offering families a choice between the two models, but please note that you are committing to this choice for the duration of the Trimester.  We are unable to accommodate changes mid-trimester to ensure our educational programming, staffing, and quarantine protocols can be upheld as designed.

Thank you for reviewing this information. We continue to rely on your sound judgement, vigilance, and cooperation. The daily sacrifices made by our families and staff do not go unnoticed. Working in partnership, it remains my hope that Winnetka emerges from 2020 as an even more closely knit community, continuing to care for our students through this very difficult time. 
Dr. Trisha Kocanda

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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