Dear Parents,

Thank you for your extraordinary support over the past several days, as we have worked together to protect our community during the growing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. To further safeguard others from the spread of the virus, we are all being asked to take measures that will minimize risk. As you know, Governor Pritzker declared mandatory school closures for all buildings, both public and private, serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students.  This mandatory closure is currently set through March 30, 2020. This end date will be re-evaluated and updated if necessary.

Today, we launched our e-learning plans.  We know that this structure and connection with the schools that serve your children is important at this time.  Our staff have done a remarkable job preparing for remote learning opportunities over this past week. We have prioritized progress over perfection, as we know there will be improvements made along the way.  We understand that you are not able to precisely emulate your child's classroom experience at home and do not expect perfection from you. We are all doing the best we can to support one another in light of these extenuating circumstances. We invite you review these helpful resources to set-up a conducive home learning environment:


Technical Support for e-Learning is available by calling 847-501-2683 or emailing the Help Desk at help@winnetka36.org between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.  Help tickets received after 4 p.m. on a school day will be answered within 24 hours.

Please email your building principal by 5 p.m. today to coordinate a pickup time if you need an essential item (i.e. medication). Schools will be closed by tomorrow at 3 p.m. to undergo deep cleaning. (Skokie families: please email Assistant Principal Larry Joynt at larryjoynt@winnetka36.org).

Today through Thursday, March 19, the District Office will be open for essential functions only with limited hours of operation (8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.) Anyone in the District this week will be practicing social distancing at all times.  During spring break (March 23-27), the District Office and all schools will be completely closed. 

Concern over COVID-19 has the potential to make children anxious. It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, childrens' anxiety may rise. As adults, we can reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy.    Fred Rogers was famous for saying "look for the helpers," in response to large-scale obstacles. Winnetka has always led with the commitment to being the helpers, being the model of nurturing strong, resilient, creative children. The only way that has been our historic success is because of the strong, resilient, creative adults that made it possible. Please take care of yourselves, look for the helpers, and know that this too shall pass.  

Children also need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk, so we recommend age-appropriate conversations with children on how to support healthy habits (i.e. hand washing and social distancing) in order to help protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Teaching children positive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infections can help reduce anxiety. Please talk with your children about precautions they can take to stay healthy, including these social distancing guidelines The National Association of School Psychologists has additional guidelines about talking to children about COVID-19.

We will continue to inform you as quickly as we can about any further changes to school services. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact information@winnetka36.org (general District-related questions) or your school principal (school-specific questions).

We appreciate your partnership.

Sincerely,
Dr. Trisha Kocanda
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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