New Trier High School students and staff will have to wait at least another week to resume a portion of in-person learning.
District 203 Superintendent Dr. Paul Sally announced via an email to parents Friday, Oct. 16, that the school will continue its “pause” of hybrid instruction. Stage 4 of the district’s reopening ladder only began for 25 percent of students on Oct. 6 before it was halted after just four days because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in both the township and the state, the district said.
The initial pause on Oct. 12 was made because several of the district’s metric thresholds were exceeded for multiple days, Sally said. Original hopes were that New Trier would resume in-person learning by Tuesday, Oct. 20, but the pause will now continue at least through the next week.
The district’s COVID-19 dashboard currently is reporting 129.2 cases per 100,000 people in New Trier Township. According to the district’s metrics, the threshold for hybrid learning is 70. That number, according to data from the Cook County Public Health Department, has surpassed the district’s threshold for eight consecutive days.
The rolling average metric for “staff zip codes” — or zip codes in which New Trier staff members live — is currently 154 cases per 100,000 people, according to the district’s data. The district’s limit for that metric is 100, and the number has surpassed that threshold for seven straight days.
New Trier currently has nine active student cases of COVID-19, per its data. The district has one positive case among staff members. District officials have continually said that there has been no known community spread of the virus on campus.
The New Trier Township High School District 203 Board of Education approved Tuesday, Oct. 13, a plan to offer students and staff members weekly COVID-19 tests that return same-day results, as first reported by The Record.
Officials hope the testing, which will be in use within 30 days, limits pausing in in-person learning, like the district administered, and extended, this week.
District parents are encouraged to attend a parent webinar at 6:30 Thursday, Oct. 22, that will provide more information about the newly approved screening program.
The district’s pause on contact practice days for out-of-season sports will also extend through the week of Oct. 19.
“This is not the news we hoped to share this week, and we will continue to monitor the metrics on our COVID-19 dashboard closely so we are prepared to move back into in-person instruction whenever those metrics allow,” Sally says. “When we do resume, those students who have not yet come to campus in person will go first. I will keep you informed over the coming week.”
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.