March 12, 2021

Dear Families,

This week marked significant progress in our Roadmap Fall 2021 planning.  The School Board hosted a special board meeting to review spring plans and provided direction for the grades 1-6 modified, full-day.  Additionally, the IL Department of Public Health and the IL School Board of Education released updated joint guidance for in-person learning.   Please read this communication carefully as we are asking families with students in grades 1-6 to take action and complete a form.  

Why shift to a modified, full-day this spring?
  • It will move us closer to what fall will look like/feel like to socially, emotionally, instructionally, and operationally be best prepared for August 2021.
  • Students can better manage the change in schedule with teachers and peers they have known all school year.
  • The current context is supportive of a change, with improved weather, well-known routines, and community "readiness."

Intense planning is underway, with more specific details forthcoming.  Here are the highlights to help families make a decision to choose in-person or remote learning.
  • Monday, April 19 - Friday, June 4
    • Offer a modified, full-day schedule which includes lunch at school.
    • Start time 8:30 a.m.; Dismissal time 2:30 p.m. 
    • Lunch is estimated to be 20 minutes + 20 minutes recess
      • Ideally held outdoors and/or in classrooms
      • Families may opt to bring child home for lunch 
      • Grade levels will likely have different lunch periods
    • Social distancing for in-person learning is now defined as 3 to 6 feet for students and fully vaccinated staff per updated IDPH guidance.
    • Student pods are maintained.

Intense planning is underway, with more specific details forthcoming.  Here are the highlights to help families make a decision to choose in-person or remote learning.
  • Monday, April 19 - Friday, June 4
    • Offer a modified, full-day schedule which includes lunch at school.
    • Start time 8:30 a.m.; Dismissal time 2:30 p.m. 
    • Lunch is estimated to be 32 minutes
      • Ideally held outdoors and/or in classrooms
      • Families will NOT have an option to have lunch at home (due to schedule)
    • Social distancing for in-person learning is now defined as 3 to 6 feet for students and fully vaccinated staff per updated IDPH guidance.
    • Student pods are maintained.
What will lunch at school be like?
  • Students bring their own lunch from home (there will not be lunch provider options this spring).
  • Outdoor lunch preferred when possible. Indoor dining requires adherence to health guidance such as 6' social distancing, reduced talking/silence while eating, mask wearing when not eating, and use of desk shields.
  • Times for lunch are still under review as the schedule is in development to adhere to programming goals (such as in-person related arts) and updated health guidance.
Note, Kindergarten students will remain in their current hybrid schedule and Washburne students will shift to their Extended Day schedule on March 15.



IMPORTANT Commitment Form for Grades 1-6 (April 19-June 4, 2021)
RESPONSE DUE: Friday, March 19
Please complete this form to indicate whether your child will participate in the Modified Full Day model or Remote Learning.  In order for our administration to make a variety of logistical preparations for this shift, we ask that you complete the form no later than Friday, March 19.  Note that this selection is binding from April 19 through the end of the school year. Please share one submission for each grade 1-6 student in your family.

UPDATED TRAVEL GUIDANCE
Per updated health department guidance, children under the age of 18 are NO LONGER exempt if they traveled with adults who have received a negative COVID-19 test. Children who travel to an orange state must provide a negative test result or quarantine for 10 days.  Please refer to this link to access the full travel guidance.   The Township COVID-19 testing site on April 2-4 and 10 will be hosted at Marie Murphy school and will be able to accommodate children.  A registration link for this testing site will be live and emailed on Monday, March 15.

Thank you for reading through this longer message, and for your feedback and support as we have planned for a variety of scenarios over the course of the past year.  We look forward to continuing in a positive direction, with students at the focus of our work. I hope you and your families enjoy a relaxing weekend.


Sincerely,
Superintendent


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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