Superintendent Paul Sally’s Letter to Families Regarding COVID-19

March 3, 2020 - CLARIFICATION of specific disinfectant measures being employed on our campuses

Dear New Trier Families,

New Trier High School has been carefully monitoring developments regarding the global spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). While at this time we have no local cases, I wanted to proactively share with you the steps New Trier is taking to keep our campuses safe as well as the plans we have in place should we be informed of cases of COVID-19. Our primary concern is student safety and wellness, and we are taking our guidance from public health officials, who communicate regularly with our Health Services Department.

As we announced at the last Board of Education meeting, the primary way for students and staff to avoid influenza, COVID-19, and other viruses is hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if they have symptoms and/or a fever. Teachers are aware of the need to be flexible with students for making up work after an absence due to illness. We want to make it as easy as possible for families to make the decision to keep students home from school if they are not feeling well. If you have concerns about missed work due to illness, please contact your student's adviser, who can help create a plan with teachers.

As a matter of standard practice, our Physical Plant Services staff wipe down surfaces such as cafeteria tables, clean classrooms each day, and disinfect bathrooms, clean floors, and keep common areas sanitized. Since the flu season began, we also have taken additional disinfectant measures, such as the use of an electrostatic sanitizing sprayer to target germs in high-use areas of our campuses. We have tips for staying healthy on the front page of our website, and we have been sharing those tips in classrooms, adviser rooms, and through posters in the school. You can find those tips and information about COVID-19 here: http://bit.ly/ntflutips .

Given the quickly changing nature of both the spread of this virus and the suggested response, our developing plans include the possibility of a large number of absences, and short- and long-term plans for closing our campuses should the need arise. The Cook County Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Public Health are developing more specific guidance as the situation evolves, and we are working closely with them as we develop our plans.

We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops. Any emergency developments will be shared immediately through all of our communications channels: email, phone, text, website, and social media. Thank you for your partnership in keeping our students and staff safe and healthy.

Paul Sally

Superintendent, New Trier High School