February 2021 Letters

February 19, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

We have been excited to see more students on campus during second semester. New Trier continues to look at ways it can safely offer more in-person learning and extracurricular opportunities for our students. 

After analyzing our attendance patterns, we know that we can safely accommodate additional students at the Winnetka Campus. As a result, we are offering parents/guardians of sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to request that their students attend classes four days a week (Tuesday-Friday) from March 2 through the remainder of third quarter, which ends March 26.   

If you would like to request the 4 day in-person option for your student during third quarter, please follow these instructions. The deadline for submissions is  Tuesday, February 23  in order to start 4-day attendance on March 2  : 

  1. Log into the  PowerSchool Parent Portal  (using your parent account; student credentials will not work)
  2. Select "Forms" from the left-hand icons
  3. Fill out the "Third Quarter Request for Additional In-Person Days" form and submit  by February 23
  4. If you do not see the forms, please follow the steps  on this document to clear your browser cache  and log back into PowerSchool.
  5. If you are having trouble logging into PowerSchool or accessing forms, please email:  powerschoolsupport@nths.net

The school will consider all requests against capacity limits, and we will inform families if we can grant their request by March 1. 

Each classroom's in-person attendance varies daily, so there may be times when a classroom is at capacity, and students may be asked to move to an alternative space in the building to Zoom into their classroom.  Prior to the fourth quarter, we will assess if space is available for students to continue these additional in-person learning days in the fourth quarter. 

Thank you,

Denise Dubravec
Principal, Winnetka Campus

_________________________

February 17, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

Two weeks ago, we shared the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) travel guidance and quarantine recommendations in anticipation of families making plans for spring break. 

That guidance has changed several times throughout the pandemic and should be considered fluid. Any plans made under the current guidance could be subject to different restrictions when planned travel takes place. There continues to be a consistent message from public health officials to avoid non-essential travel because   travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.   

New Trier has followed CCDPH recommendations throughout this school year. The rest of this message outlines the current travel guidance, which recently changed to allow for quarantine or a negative PCR test, and how New Trier is responding. 

Ruvna health screener change

Starting tomorrow, we will change the travel question in the Ruvna health screener. We expect all families to answer this question honestly and abide by the guidelines in place at the time of travel. More details on the new CCDPH guidance can be found at the end of this letter. This is the new question:  

If your student has traveled to an  orange state  and is:

  • awaiting results of a PCR test for themselves or an adult travel partner dated no sooner than 72 hours before your return to Cook County OR
  • Still in 10-day post-travel quarantine required without a negative PCR test   ​     Mark "Yes."  Otherwise, mark "No."

Impact on spring break travel, athletic tryouts, and extracurricular activities

We will continue to follow whatever CCDPH guidance is in place at the time of spring break. The current guidance is outlined below. 

Revised Cook County Travel Guidance

The CCDPH recently updated its travel guidance to align with the travel order in effect in the City of Chicago. The  Chicago website  includes a map and more information than the Cook County website, including an FAQ.  The guidelines apply to anyone traveling to suburban Cook County from designated U.S. states with a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19, which are updated weekly and coded orange  on this map  . 

Travel within the U.S.:

If you travel anywhere in the United States that is coded orange, a 10-day quarantine without showing COVID-19 symptoms is recommended.

OR

Obtain a negative PCR COVID-19 Test (rapid tests are not allowed) no earlier than 72 hours prior to your return or after your return but before you come on campus. Children under the age of 18 are exempt from quarantine if they traveled with adults who received a negative PCR COVID-19 test no earlier than 72 hours prior to return. 

You do not need to provide evidence of a negative PCR test result to New Trier, but please keep those results available in case they are requested. 

For international travel: 

Effective January 26, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure (from international location) or provide proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days . Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers two years of age and over prior to boarding. 

PCR testing option April 2, 3, and 4 for Township families and staff

On April 2, 3, and 4, Northshore Clinical Labs will offer PCR COVID-19 testing at a mass testing site within the District for any staff, student, or family member who has traveled or simply wants to get tested after spring break. This testing is voluntary. We will share more information about the times, location, and how testing will be conducted closer to the testing dates. 

Weekly New Trier saliva testing

Students planning to attend school in person following spring break must still turn in their saliva samples for the week of April 4 regardless of whether they have participated in other COVID-19 testing. Students participating in athletics will receive separate communication from the athletic department regarding saliva testing prior to tryouts.

Thank you for your partnership in keeping New Trier safe. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Timothy Hayes 
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

________________________

February 9, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

Over the past week, we have seen a significant increase in the number of students testing positive for COVID-19 and in the number of students in quarantine because of close contact with a person with COVID-19. These positive cases have occurred outside of New Trier, many of them traced back to larger gatherings where attendees did not practice social distancing, masking, or other precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

We cannot stress enough the importance of students staying home and learning remotely  if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, if they have gathered with  anyone outside of their household  without wearing masks or distancing, if they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if they have participated in activities deemed a risk by the Illinois Department of Public Health, such as non-essential travel or club sports that are not abiding by the state's Sports Safety Guidance.

At the beginning of the year, we asked all students to take a COVID-19 safety course and sign the  Trevians Care for Trevians Pledge.  Our plan for reopening New Trier safely had one overarching message:  We are all in this together.  We cannot lose sight of this message. Our actions during this pandemic affect not only ourselves, but our entire community. We have done all we can to operate our school safely, but decisions made outside of school have a real impact on our ability to offer in-person instruction and extracurricular activities.

Ruvna Health Screener Changes

One important part of keeping our campuses safe is our daily Ruvna health screener. We will be changing some of the questions on that screener starting tomorrow to make them more clear. It is essential that parents/guardians answer every question honestly and keep students home if they meet any of the criteria on the screener.  The changes include:

  • Adding a question specific to gatherings outside a student's household  :  Have you attended a gathering of 10 or more people, or any gathering with others from outside your household who were not wearing masks or social distancing?   
  • Removing the question about whether a student missed the saliva screener drop-off.  We already contact families who miss the mandatory drop-off, and compliance has been above 97%. Ruvna limits the number of questions we can ask, so we removed this question to add the new question about gatherings.
  • New introduction.  The introduction reminds families that honestly and fully answering questions is essential, and that students can face school or extracurricular consequences for dishonest answers.

Travel Question on Ruvna

The Cook County Department of Public Health recently updated its travel guidance to align with the City of Chicago. We are analyzing that guidance in terms of our Ruvna travel question and our own guidance to families. We expect to have further information to share by next week. For now, the Ruvna question will continue to ask families to mark "yes" and stay home if they are voluntarily quarantining after non-essential travel. 

We anticipate that the CCDPH travel guidance will continue to change and encourage our families to limit non-essential travel as directed by state, federal and local health officials.

We know that this ongoing pandemic has been extremely hard on our students, and that families may make different decisions about how best to support their teens. Our rules are in place to help keep our campuses safe and operational. Please choose to have your students learn remotely if they are engaging in activities that may put others at risk. Only by working together can we remain New Trier Strong.

Sincerely,

Paul Sally, Superintendent

_______________________

February 3, 2021

Dear New Trier Families, 

As families make plans for spring break (March 27-April 4), we want to make sure that you are clear about our quarantine requirements for students who travel. While these requirements are already part of our daily Ruvna health screener, we have received many questions about spring break. Please note that there are  no exemptions  for athletic tryouts or extracurricular participation. 

10-Day Quarantine After Travel Required

The Cook County Department of Public Health continues to recommend avoiding all non-essential travel. New Trier is following those guidelines, along with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health: 

  • Recommended quarantine period is 14 days after return. 
  • Quarantine can end  after  Day 10 if no symptoms have been reported during any day of the daily monitoring period.
  • Guidance regarding a shortened quarantine period with a negative PCR test applies only to adults and is  not  recommended for teens. 

Athletics 

The IHSA recently announced its  sports seasons  for the rest of the school year. Some seasons will begin with tryouts/practices immediately after spring break, while other sports will already be in season and will continue after spring break. 

We expect all athletes who are on a New Trier team or trying out for a sport to abide by our health and safety rules. This means that students who travel during spring break must quarantine and thus may miss out on the opportunity to try out and make a team that has cuts or may have to forgo participating in the end of their season. Due to the shortened seasons, we cannot postpone tryouts, practices, or competitions scheduled after spring break. 

The mandatory quarantine applies to travel for club sports as well as vacations at any time, not just during spring break. 

Performing Arts and Activities

Students participating in performing arts rehearsals, crew, or auditions/callbacks or any club activities, tryouts, or practices on campus are also expected to abide by New Trier's quarantine rules. Performances, auditions/callbacks, tryouts, or club competitions will not be rescheduled because of student travel. 

Hybrid In-Person Instruction 

Students who travel during spring break should answer the nonessential travel question "Yes" in Ruvna and quarantine for 10 days (symptom-free) following their return. They may access their classes remotely during the quarantine period. 

We understand that these requirements may create difficulties for families who were planning to travel during spring break. We thank all families for doing their part to protect the health and safety of our school and our community so we can continue to offer uninterrupted in-person instruction and activities for the rest of the school year. 

Sincerely, 

Denise Dubravec                                                                            Paul Waechtler
Principal, Winnetka Campus                                                        Principal, Northfield Campus