Back-to-School

Updated 5/7/2021

Given the changing nature of state and federal health guidance for schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New Trier High School has been developing plans for a number of learning scenarios in the 2020-2021 school year. On August 12, Superintendent Paul Sally presented his Comprehensive Reopening and Operational Plan for 2020-2021 , which includes a Reopening Ladder with steps for different learning scenarios the District may move up or down throughout the year.

New Trier's goal is to have students learning in school as often as possible while providing a safe environment for students and staff.

This page will be updated frequently throughout the summer with the latest information on topics including our new block schedule, health and safety protocols, extracurricular activities, and other important topics. Please note that our planning is fluid, and some plans may change if circumstances change. We also will email families and staff and reach out to students on Canvas with important information during the summer. The Frequently Asked Questions page also will be updated regularly as new questions arise. If you need to update your email address on file, please contact  registrar@nths.net

MESSAGES TO NEW TRIER FAMILES REGARDING BACK-TO-SCHOOL PLANNING

May 5, 2021

Dear New Trier Families, 

One of the effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety of our school and your family is to have your student vaccinated.  We encourage our students to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them, including taking advantage of opportunities at New Trier. If you have questions, we also encourage you to seek out reliable sources of information, such as the CDC's  Vaccines for COVID  webpage or your healthcare provider.

If your student has completed the COVID-19 vaccination series, we encourage you to submit a copy of the completed vaccine card or immunization record to the Health Services Office at  healthservices@nths.net

Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine after a close contact with someone who has COVID-19 unless they are experiencing symptoms. They also do not need to quarantine following domestic travel unless they are experiencing symptoms. 

By sharing information on your student's vaccination, you will help us avoid sending unnecessary quarantine notifications. Having these records also will help us better understand the overall safety of students at our school as we make decisions about in-person opportunities and plan for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Fully vaccinated is defined as  14 days  after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or  14 days  after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we ensure that New Trier High School offers a safe learning environment for students.

Sincerely,

Timothy Hayes, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

_________________________

April 27 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

With athletic seasons in full swing as well as AP exams, senior activities, and many end-of-year events on the horizon for our students, we are receiving many questions about Illinois Department of Public Health requirements for quarantine after exposure to a case of COVID-19. 

We acknowledge how disappointing and frustrating it is to find out that your student has been determined to be in "close contact" with a person who has COVID-19 and must miss in-person classes, athletics, and other activities for a 10-day quarantine period. We hope that by providing this information, you can understand the guidance under which New Trier must operate so you can make informed decisions about sending your student to in-person classes or activities.  

What are the IDPH requirements for quarantine after exposure at a school? 

Under Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, anyone determined to be a "close contact" to a person with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days from the date of last contact. Quarantine means being confined to your own home and not interacting with those outside your household. Students in quarantine may not attend in-person classes or activities. 

What is "close contact"?

A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before getting tested) regardless of mask wearing or other mitigation factors.

When a student tests positive for COVID-19, New Trier engages in a strict contact tracing process to identify and notify close contacts. We do this in partnership with the Cook County Department of Public Health and IDPH.  We only have students quarantine if they meet the criteria to be considered a close contact. 

Where is "close contact" likely to happen? Are there differences between the Northfield and Winnetka Campuses? 

Right now classrooms at the Winnetka Campus remain at a 6-foot distance, meaning students simply attending class are generally not "close contacts." At the Northfield Campus, where attendance is higher and classrooms are smaller, the distance in most classrooms is now less than 6 feet. That means students can be considered "close contacts" for sitting near someone in class who is later determined to be positive for COVID-19. 

In athletics and activities, we talk to coaches and students to determine who may be considered a close contact depending on the activity and determinations of the risk of that activity. 

What are the exceptions to the requirements for a 10-day quarantine? 

  • If your student is fully vaccinated (14 days post-second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine,) they will be exempt from quarantine. 
  • If your student has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they will be exempt from quarantine.  

Documentation must be provided. These are the only exceptions allowed under the state's guidance.  

Can I shorten the quarantine period by getting a negative test result or a lab result showing the presence of antibodies? 

No . Under IDPH guidance for students attending school, there is no possibility of early release from quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test nor proof of antibodies.

What about wearing masks, saliva testing, and other mitigation measures at New Trier? Don't those make the risk of transmission low and eliminate the need for quarantine? 

The mitigation measures we have in place at New Trier do make the risk of COVID-19 transmission at school low. We have not had any reported cases of in-school transmission. However, while the IDPH has allowed schools to reduce social distancing in classrooms, the state has not changed its definition of close contacts nor the requirements for quarantine. 

We continue to strongly encourage all students to adhere to masking and social distancing outside of school activities, avoid gathering in large groups, continue dropping off saliva samples on time, and stay home if they feel sick. These steps will help reduce the need for quarantines at New Trier.  

Sincerely,

Denise Dubravec                                Paul Waechtler                                   Augie Fontanetta
Principal, Winnetka Campus              Principal, Northfield Campus              Athletic Director

________________________

April 9, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

We are excited to welcome more students back to our campuses for in-person learning next week. It is an unusual week because of junior testing and a district planning day on Monday. Please read on for reminders about 1) the week's schedule and 2) plans at each campus for accommodating more in-person students. 

Schedule week of April 12

  • Monday, April 12: District Planning Day. No school for students. 
  • Tuesday, April 13: 
    Juniors: Mandatory state SAT at Winnetka Campus, 7:45 a.m. arrival. Juniors should check their school email for room assignments; advisers have these as well. Testing information can be found here
    Freshmen: Regular Blue Day for Northfield Campus (in-person or remote depending on your student's normal schedule)
    Sophomores and Seniors: Remote Asynchronous Blue Day to accommodate junior testing. No Zoom or in-person classes. Independent work assigned. 
  • Wednesday, April 14-Friday, April 16: Regular Green and Blue schedule.

Campus plans to accommodate more students

  • New Trier has granted all parent requests submitted in PowerSchool for 4th quarter. Your student should begin attending school based on the schedule you requested (4 days, 2 days, or all-remote).  
  • If you did not submit a request by the deadline, your student must remain in their 3rd quarter track.
  • Classrooms at the Northfield Campus will reduce social distancing below six feet. This could increase student quarantines based on Cook County health guidance. Teachers will have seating charts to assist in contact tracing. 
  • Classrooms at the Winnetka Campus will remain at six feet, and students may be sent to a Zoom room once a classroom has reached capacity. We will monitor how often this is happening to determine whether we need to reduce social distancing in some Winnetka Campus classrooms. 
  • Both campuses will keep six feet of social distancing for lunch and free periods. We will remind students to monitor their distance, but we ask for your help reinforcing the importance of this with your students as well.

Thank you for your help, and we look forward to seeing more students next week!

Sincerely,

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

______________________

March 24, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

We are excited to see the number of students interested in returning to our campuses for 4 days a week (Tuesdays-Fridays) during 4th quarter. Please read on to learn more about: 

  • Explanation of IDPH guidelines for social distancing and quarantine
  • Plans for the week following spring break (week of April 5)
  • Plans to grant all parent in-person learning requests starting the week of April 12
  • Different campus distancing plans - Northfield and Winnetka
  • Saliva screening and spring break travel 

IDPH guidelines for social distancing and quarantine

As we mentioned in our last message, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued new guidelines that allow for reduced social distancing in classrooms to allow for more capacity. The guidelines still require 6 feet of distance in areas where students may remove their masks, such as during lunch. However, the IDPH and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) definition of "close contact" requiring a 10-day quarantine still uses within 6 feet of distance for at least 15 minutes as its standard. We have asked CCDPH if our mitigation measures could reduce the need to quarantine students if we reduce classroom social distancing, but they are holding to the 6 foot distance for close contact in schools.

We have analyzed parent requests for in-person learning for 4th quarter, and if all students attend in person for each day requested, we will need to reduce social distancing in classrooms. That in turn could increase the number of students who are required to quarantine for 10 days. Currently we do not need to quarantine students who are exposed to a COVID-19 case in a classroom, since all classrooms maintain 6 feet of distance between desks. 

Given the number of important on-campus events coming up in 4th quarter (state SAT test for juniors, AP testing, athletic tryouts and competitions, extracurricular activities, events for seniors), we have come up with the following plan in an effort to grant parent requests while still minimizing the impact of quarantining on students. 

Week of April 5 - status quo except for students moving from all-remote to in-person

For the week of April 5, we are asking all in-person students to remain on their 3rd quarter track (2 day or 4 day). Remote students who have requested an in-person option for 4th quarter may come to campus on their new in-person days (2 day or 4 day)  to get used to the campus protocols. 

Keeping to the 3rd quarter tracks for one week will allow both campuses to maintain 6 feet of distance in classrooms for that week, helping assure that students will not be quarantined for classroom exposure. It also will help the school get past any possible post-spring break spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Week of April 12 - all students begin new schedules based on 4th quarter requests

Beginning the week of April 12, New Trier will grant all parent requests submitted in PowerSchool for 4th quarter. If you did not submit a request by the deadline, your student must remain in their 3rd quarter track. 

Northfield Campus plan

The Northfield Campus will reduce the space between desks in most classrooms starting April 12 to accommodate the number of students requesting in-person instruction. We anticipate this will be 4 feet or 5 feet, depending on the classroom. 

We decided to immediately move to reduced distance at the Northfield Campus because in-person attendance has consistently been higher than at the Winnetka Campus. This could increase student quarantines but will reduce the number of students asked to Zoom into class from another location due to classrooms being at capacity. 

Winnetka Campus plan

The Winnetka Campus will maintain 6 feet of distance in classrooms during the week of April 12. Once a classroom has reached capacity, teachers may ask students to Zoom into the class from another location, such as the hall or a free period space.  

We will take the week of April 12 to analyze attendance at the Winnetka Campus and determine whether classroom distancing must be reduced to accommodate more students in classrooms. While we do not want students attending in person to have to Zoom into any classes, we also must balance the risk of additional student quarantines ahead of important events (AP testing, athletic seasons, extracurricular activities, events). In-person attendance has consistently been lower than the number of students signed up for in-person instruction at the Winnetka Campus, so we do not want to reduce classroom distancing if attendance patterns show we do not need to do so. We will send a follow-up communication to families once we assess true classroom capacity and determine if we need to adjust distancing.  

Saliva screening

All students attending instruction or extracurricular activities in person must submit a saliva sample weekly based on the first letter of their last name. For the week of April 4 only, students participating in specific athletics may have a different schedule; a separate letter from Athletics includes details on the requirements for each sport. 

As a reminder, students who travel must abide by Cook County health guidelines for PCR/antigen testing or quarantine. Details on the requirement and local testing sites can be found here . All students must submit saliva samples for the week of April 4 regardless of whether they have taken another COVID-19 test. The saliva screening drop-off calendar and more information about the program can be found on the COVID-19 Screening Web Page

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we plan to welcome more students to our campuses for 4th quarter. 

Sincerely,

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

_____________________

March 16, 2021

Dear New Trier Families, 

Spring Break is an important time for our students to have a break from school before the dash to the end of the school year. We continue to ask for everyone to follow health and safety guidelines regarding travel and to answer our Ruvna health screener honestly following break. 

We encourage taking a PCR test before returning from vacation, but if that is not possible, families can take advantage of Free Township COVID-19 Testing on April 2, 3, 4 & 10. Details are below.

Please note that the new  Cook County Department of Public Health/Chicago Travel Guidance  now requires PCR or antigen testing  or  a 10-day quarantine for anyone who travels to an "orange" state - including those under 18.  This is a change from the previous guidance. New Trier's saliva screening does  not  fulfill this requirement. 

New Trier Township COVID-19 Testing on April 2, 3, 4 & 10

New Trier Township school districts have partnered with NorthShore Clinical Labs to host free COVID-19 PCR testing for students, families, staff, and community members at Marie Murphy School in Wilmette. Test results are expected within 24-48 hours from the time of testing. 

LOCATION

Marie Murphy School Gymnasium
2921 Illinois Road, Wilmette

Those interested in receiving a test must  register in advance  and complete a laboratory form that is linked on the registration website. More details can be found on this  informational flyer.   Appointments are limited.

You do not need to submit test results to New Trier, but please keep them available in case they are requested in the future. 

New Trier Saliva Screening

New Trier will not conduct saliva screening over Spring Break. Mandatory saliva screening resumes on Sunday, April 4. 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.  

If you have not yet participated in saliva screening, please pick up your supplies and labels before break so you are prepared to submit a sample when your student returns to school. A form to request labels, information about picking up supplies, and a calendar for dropping off samples can all be found on the  Saliva Screening Information page

Students participating in athletic tryouts will receive separate communication from the athletic department regarding saliva screening prior to tryouts. No tryouts will take place on Monday, April 5, so families have time to get COVID-19 test results if necessary under CCDPH guidelines. 

Thank you for your help in keeping our campuses safe after Spring Break. 

Sincerely,

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

_____________________

March 12, 2021

Dear New Trier Families,

As 4th quarter approaches (beginning April 5), New Trier is assessing our learning options and environment for all students. Our goal is to safely offer more in-person learning and extracurricular opportunities while allowing a choice for students who wish to remain all-remote through the end of this school year. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued new guidelines on March 9 that allow for reduced social distancing in classrooms to allow for more capacity. The guidelines still require 6 feet of distance in areas where students may remove their masks, such as during lunch. 

In order for New Trier to determine its 4th quarter learning options, we are asking all families to complete our 4th quarter learning preference form in PowerSchool by Wednesday, March 17. 

New Trier is considering options that would allow more students to attend each day by reducing the distancing in some classrooms to less than 6 feet. Mitigation measures such as mask wearing, Ruvna screening, saliva screening, and enhanced cleaning would still be in place. However, student quarantines may increase because the IDPH definition of "close contact" for COVID-19 still uses within 6 feet of distance for at least 15 minutes as its standard. 

Please follow these instructions to select your student's preference for 4th quarter. The District will review the choices selected by parents next week and carefully analyze classroom, lunchroom and other capacity issues based on these selections. The District will communicate assigned in-person days for families for the 4th quarter during the week of March 22nd.

If you do not submit a form, we will use your student's current track assignment (all-remote, 2-day, or 4-day) as your preference for the 4th quarter.  

Directions for Submitting Your Preference:

  1. Log into the PowerSchool Parent Portal (you must log into your parent account, not your student's account).
  2. Select "Forms" from the left-hand menu
  3. Select "4th Quarter Learning Preference" from the available forms
  4. Make your selection from the following options, understanding that social distancing may be decreased from the current 6 feet in classroom settings:
  • Attend in person 4 days a week (Tuesday-Friday)
  • Attend in person 2 days a week based on last name (A-K on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, L-Z on Thursdays and Fridays)
  • All-remote

If you are having trouble logging into PowerSchool or accessing forms, please email: powerschoolsupport@nths.net