In-person class is in-session again at North Shore Country Day School.
Students returned to classrooms on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Winnetka institution and were glad to be back, according to Christine Wachter, communications associate for the school.
As a requirement of returning to campus, the school began COVID-19 testing, following in the footsteps of New Trier High School and Glencoe District 35, as The Record previously reported.
“We collected 610 saliva samples over the weekend, and of those, we had one presumptive positive who was advised to seek further testing,” Wachter said. “We’ll collect our next samples this Thursday, and every Thursday moving forward.”
As of Wednesday, Jan. 20, one student at NSCDS has COVID-19.
Students who have confirmed positive results are to stay home and quarantine, and those students do not feel comfortable returning to the classroom can elect to participate in an all-remote school day every two-week cycle.
“Approximately 7 percent of NSCD students have opted for remote learning indefinitely,” Wachter confirmed in an email. “We also have a handful of teachers who are teaching remotely.”
COVID-free students can attend a half-day hybrid program in which they are on campus for in-person learning for a half day and remote-in for the other half. Right now, lower and middle school students are on campus from 8 a.m.-noon, and upper school students from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
The school previously held a similar hybrid learning model in the beginning of the school year, but went to all-remote learning after Thanksgiving in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
During that break, Wachter said, the school completed “a huge” HVAC overhaul at the middle school that will improve the air quality to aid in the full return of a select group of students.
The students that will return first will be the lower school kids, Wachter said. Their first day is scheduled for later this month on Jan. 29.
“Since the middle school project is done, we can use some of those classrooms to spread out our lower school students,” she said. “We haven’t had problems with the lower school; in-person learning has been going really well for us. It has always been a priority to get students in class as much as possible.”
Head of School Tom Flemma previously said the new salvia testing may help officials provide even more in-person learning through the remainder of the school year.
“We believe strongly that this test … will combine with our already proven campus mitigation strategies to make our campus even safer when we return,” Flemma previously wrote in a letter to NSCDS parents. “Perhaps most importantly, adding this additional, significant layer of protection to our safety arsenal makes us cautiously optimistic that we will be able to provide in-person learning for the bulk of the remaining school year.”
Megan Bernard is a co-founder and the managing editor who directs day-to-day journalism of The Record. Megan enjoys writing about restaurants, entertainment and education and is an established human-interest reporter.