November 2020 Letters

November 14, 2020

Dear New Trier Families,

Thank you to our students, families, faculty, and staff for a successful return to our 25% hybrid schedule this week. We are especially pleased at the very high participation in the first week of our COVID-19 saliva screening program, which identified 15 presumptive positive cases among 1,920 students and staff screened.

This email includes important information about:

  • Saliva sample collection for students participating in on-campus athletic and extracurricular programs
  • Winter sports teams begin practices on Tuesday, November 17
  • Suburban Cook County's stay-at-home advisory and what that means for New Trier
  • New bar codes coming soon in the US mail for students participating in saliva screening
  • Saliva sample drop-off days, times, and locations for A-E and L-Q students attending school next week

Saliva Sample Collection for Athletics, On-Campus Extracurricular Activities

Starting this weekend, students scheduled to come on campus for athletic or extracurricular activities must submit their COVID-19 saliva screening samples during the Sunday and Monday drop-off times (calendar below) each week for the duration of the time you are participating in on-campus athletics or activities. Drop off only one sample per week; you should not drop off a second sample based on the first letter of your student's last name. As a reminder, participation in the saliva screening is required for students participating in on-campus extracurricular activities. Note this is a change from previous instructions to submit samples during your student's letter group collection.

Winter Sports Begin on Tuesday, November 17

To ensure our screening process properly manages the ramp up of increased participation due to athletics, we will start winter sports practices on Tuesday, November 17. Information for the start date for the Strength and Conditioning program will be sent early next week from the Athletics Department. Note this is a change from the original start date of November 16.

Suburban Cook County Stay-at-Home Advisory and Travel Restrictions

On Friday, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) issued a stay-at-home advisory for residents of suburban Cook County to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Attending school is considered an essential activity and is not subject to the advisory. New Trier will continue the 25% hybrid schedule next week, following our existing strict safety protocols.

The CCDPH also changed its travel guidance to recommend avoiding all non-essential travel, regardless of location. As a result, on Monday you will see some changes to the questions on Ruvna to focus on activities that increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Please make sure to read these questions closely and answer honestly for the safety of our school community.

Signed Up for COVID-19 Screening? Watch the Mail for a Letter from New Trier

All families who signed up for COVID-19 screening should receive a letter in the next few days that contains new bar codes for labeling your students' saliva samples. After we distributed the collection kits, we discovered that the ink used was smudging for some students, making the bar codes unreadable in some cases. New Trier used a manual process to screen these bar codes, which slowed processing. It is important to use these new smudge-proof labels so your samples can be processed in a timely fashion. Please discard your old labels when you receive the new ones.

Saliva Sample Drop-off: A-E, L-Q, extracurriculars, students with identified needs

Below is the calendar for saliva sample drop-off days for students attending 25% hybrid instruction next week. Again, students participating in on-campus athletics or extracurricular activities should drop off Sunday/Monday each week, regardless of last name. Students with identified needs who are attending school every week also should drop off Sunday/Monday.

You may drop off your student's sample at a secure drop box at either campus:

  • Winnetka Campus: North Door (N16) security vestibule off Trevian Way
  • Northfield Campus: D Building security vestibule off Happ Road

NovemberDecember calendar 2020

Thank you for your support and help in keeping New Trier and our community safe.

_________________________

November 5, 2020

Dear New Trier Families,

At a special meeting last evening, the New Trier Board of Education instructed New Trier to resume hybrid (on-campus) learning beginning Tuesday, November 10 for students with last names beginning with F-K . Read on for:

  • Board meeting recap and rationale for resuming hybrid instruction
  • School calendar changes and a likely hybrid schedule through winter break
  • COVID-19 saliva screening kit pick-up times/dates today and tomorrow
  • Upcoming communication about COVID-19 sample return procedures - first set of samples due by 8:30 a.m. Monday, November 9 for last names F-K. More information to come in a separate email later today.

Board meeting recap and rationale for resuming hybrid instruction

Superintendent Paul Sally presented the Board with information about the COVID-19 saliva screening program as an additional and important part of New Trier's COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Sally explained that measures New Trier already has in place - including mask requirements, social distancing, upgraded ventilation and air filtration, and enhanced cleaning - significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at school. Area schools including Lake Forest High School, Glenbrook North and South, Loyola Academy, and all of New Trier's sender schools are operating successfully with those measures in place and without weekly screening.

New Trier will be the first area school to also offer weekly COVID-19 screening to all students and staff scheduled to be on campus. This additional layer of protection further lowers the risk of COVID-19 exposure on New Trier's campuses. It is also a more accurate measure of New Trier's COVID-19 risk than local or area metrics, since it includes only the population scheduled to be on New Trier's campuses. As of today, more than 91 percent of hybrid students have signed up to participate in the screening. Click to sign up now .

The Board also reviewed surveys from students, parents, and staff members and research on transmission rates at schools in deciding to resume hybrid instruction. The Board agreed to begin at 25 percent hybrid instruction with a path to 50 percent hybrid instruction should screening program results and operational metrics indicate the District can do so safely.

Tentative hybrid schedule through winter break

The two student groups that have not yet experienced in-person instruction will attend school next week: F-K on Nov. 10-11 (Tuesday-Wednesday) and R-Z on Nov. 12-13 (Thursday-Friday).

Based on feedback from students, staff, and parents, Grey Days will replace Trevian Days . On Grey Days, teachers will provide asynchronous assignments and will be available for office hours. This will reduce student screen time and allow for more consistent access to teachers.

Here is the schedule through winter break. The school is assessing the potential for a 50 percent hybrid model as indicated, under which A-K would attend Tuesdays and Wednesdays weekly, while L-Z would attend Thursdays and Fridays:

Nov and Dec 2020 Calendar

School calendar changes

In my last email, I updated you on the new dates for parent-teacher conferences : Nov. 16 (grey day - no synchronous instruction) and Nov. 23-24 (no school for students) That change means that Nov. 12-13, originally scheduled as days off for students, are now instructional days on the 25 percent hybrid model to allow for more uninterrupted and in-person instruction.

I know some families had made plans around the original calendar, and I apologize for the difficulty the change has caused. Please be assured that teachers will be flexible with students who have excused absences on these days. The schedule change also means that students are now off school for the full week of Thanksgiving and the Monday after, Nov. 23-30.

COVID-19 saliva screening kit pick up times and dates

The school, with assistance from NTPA volunteers, will distribute saliva collection kits at the Northfield Campus, 7 Happ Road, this Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6 . All student kits should be picked up at Northfield, regardless of a student's campus. The kits will be distributed in the South Parking Lot off Happ Road between the tennis courts; please enter on the north side of the parking lot.

Students/families may only pick up their own kit. If you cannot come during these pickup times, please email rascha@nths.net (Winnetka Campus students) or nielsenl@nths.net (Northfield Campus students) for alternative arrangements.

Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Friday: 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

To make the distribution easier, please put a sheet of paper displaying your student's last name in your front windshield . We will direct cars to separate pickup areas based on the first letter of each student's last name. Everyone in the car must be wearing a mask.

Upcoming communication about COVID-19 screening sample return procedures

We will begin our saliva collection program all day Sunday through Monday morning for the first group of students returning to school, last names beginning with the letters F-K.

Later today the families of all students participating in on-campus hybrid instruction or activities will receive a targeted email specifying your assigned dates and times to drop off your student's saliva sample. Your kits will include detailed collection instructions. Please note that students not assigned to be on campus next week will not participate in this week's collection program.We are still working out the collection schedule for extracurricular participation and anticipate beginning that portion of the program in another week. We will follow up with more details.

Saliva collection tubes can be returned to either campus, regardless of where your student attends. We will share drop-off locations and times in the email specific to your student's last name. We will ask families to drop off samples only on their student's assigned dates/times. At this time, 100% remote students will not participate.

Thank you for your patience with our schedule changes and with the amount of information we need to share. We look forward to welcoming students back on campus next week.

_______________________

November 3, 2020

Dear New Trier Families,

Thank you to all the families who have signed up for New Trier's COVID-19 saliva screening program. The response has been exceptional, and we are excited to begin this program next week. If you have not yet signed up, you can still do so using our quick online COVID-19 Screening Sign-up .

Screening Kit Pickup Thursday and Friday at the Northfield Campus

The school, with assistance from NTPA volunteers, will distribute saliva collection kits at the Northfield Campus, 7 Happ Road, this Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6 . All student kits should be picked up at Northfield, regardless of a student's campus. The kits will contain eight collection vials (1 for each week through January), an instruction sheet for saliva collection, and several Ziplock bags to return the samples. The kits will be distributed in the South Parking Lot off Happ Road between the tennis courts; please enter on the north side of the parking lot.

Students/families may only pick up their own kit. If you cannot come during these pickup times, please email rascha@nths.net (Winnetka Campus students) or nielsenl@nths.net (Northfield Campus students) for alternative arrangements.

Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

To make the distribution easier, please put a sheet of paper displaying your student's last name in your front windshield . We will direct cars to separate pickup areas based on the first letter of each student's last name. Everyone in the car must be wearing a mask.

If you have not yet signed up and wish to pick up a kit, please fill out the online form now. If you come to the pickup but have not filled out the online form, you will need to fill out a paper form on site to receive a collection kit. Everyone who has signed up, including 100% remote students who may not immediately participate in the program, may pick up kits.

Saliva Sample Return

We anticipate beginning our collection program this Sunday based on the first letter of a student's last name. We will email families later this week with assigned dates and times to drop off your student's saliva sample. We will ask families to drop off samples only on their student's assigned dates/times. At this time, 100% remote students will not participate.

Saliva collection tubes can be returned to either campus, regardless of where your student attends. We will share drop-off locations and times in the email specific to your student's last name.

An enormous thank you to the NTPA for all of your help with this process. We truly appreciate the efforts of our wonderful parent volunteers!

Sincerely,

Denise Dubravec Paul Waechtler
Winnetka Campus Principal Northfield Campus Principal