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3/13/2020: D219 Schools closing next week

Dear D219 Families,

Based on the rapidly developing spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19, and in order to err on the side of caution in doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus, Niles Township High School District 219 has decided that Friday, March 13 will be the last day for students to attend school, at least until the end of spring break, which goes through March 29.

The D219 administration will continue to monitor conditions in our community regarding COVID-19 to assess when it is safe for students to return to school, based upon health and safety conditions in Niles Township.

Schools will be closed to students beginning March 16.

All students should take their Chromebooks and materials home with them on Friday so they can participate in e-learning and alternate learning lessons during the non-attendance period. We are also asking them to take any personal belongings home with them today. If students need a Chromebook, they should come to the Help Desk with their ID today. We have asked students to let us know if they need a wifi hotspot at home. For those students who have told us they need a hotspot, we will notify them via a text and email with information on how to pick one up once we receive them.

If students were absent today and need to pick up their Chromebooks or other materials, they may come to school on Monday, March 16 anytime between 8 a.m. and noon to pick up those items.

We recognize how difficult it is to make a decision to close schools at this time. However, given guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that “social distancing” is the most effective way to prevent or reduce the spread of this dangerous virus, we believe the most responsible action we can take for the health and safety of our students, their family members, our faculty and staff, and the community at large, is to close our schools for the time being.

In addition, buildings and grounds staff members will thoroughly disinfect our buildings during the closure.

Students, parents and community members will not be allowed in the buildings after Monday, March 16 at noon. During the closure, only designated school employees will be allowed in the buildings.

Alternative lessons for students

On Monday, March 16, we will hold sessions in our schools with teachers and support staff members to finalize plans on how we will offer continuing instruction to students via electronic learning, or e-learning. Teachers will use different methods to deliver instruction, but our goal is to make assignments meaningful and to have students working with materials that will allow them to gain relevant knowledge in their respective courses.

The district anticipates to begin offering e-learning on Tuesday, March 17. Students and parents will receive an email and a text confirming the actual start of online instruction.

There is the potential that we may have to add up to five emergency makeup days for students after the end of the planned school year.

Spring break

Spring break will be as planned, from March 21 to March 29. All spring break school-sponsored trips have been cancelled.

Students will not be assigned school work during spring break.

Testing

We are in communication with the College Board regarding plans both for the AP testing window and SAT testing as they are affected by virus developments. We will provide the latest information to families about testing as we receive updates from the testing agencies.

Communications with families

We know how important it is that we keep you apprised of any important developments as we deal with this serious and challenging situation. We will continue to provide you with updates as this situation develops. We will also post any developments on our website: www.niles219.org.

Thank you for your patience and your understanding as we work together with our families, our staff members and our Niles Township colleagues to support our students and do everything we can to keep them safe and secure. We are blessed to have a caring and compassionate community. Working together, we will get through this.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven Isoye

Superintendent of Schools

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D219 Events Cancelled

Effective immediately, based on guidance from the Skokie Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health, large school events will be cancelled until further notice.

We will cancel or postpone all school-sponsored large after-school events that include members of the public. This includes the Niles North musical production, music concerts, and the College Fair that was scheduled for March 17 at Niles West.

The March 13 pep assemblies at Niles North and Niles West will also be cancelled.

Beginning March 16, all field trips, competitions and conferences will be cancelled or postponed until further notice.

See the entire letter from the Superintendent here.

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COVID-19 Update to D219 Families 3.12.20 — A Message From: STEVEN ISOYE

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March 12, 2020

Dear D219 Families,

We are sending you this letter to update you on actions Niles Township High School District 219 is taking in response to the rapidly evolving spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please understand, given how quickly things are changing, that we are continuously monitoring developments in our community and that we are working closely with the Skokie Health Department, which itself is in ongoing contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois State Board of Education, and other public health agencies. We are very grateful to the Skokie Health Department, which provides guidance that benefits our students and their families in all four municipalities we serve.

This letter serves to update you on the preparations we are taking. Please understand that, because things are changing so quickly, we may need to make changes on an hour-by-hour basis. We will work hard to keep our D219 families informed about any changes.

For now, we will continue to follow the regularly scheduled school day. At the same time, we are developing alternative plans in the event we need to close our schools.

The reason we exist as a public school is to educate our students and to provide the highest level possible of teaching and learning. That being said, our top priority is the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff members.

At this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our students to continue teaching our students in the context of the regular school day. At the same time, we are working with our staff to develop e-learning plans that we can implement if we make the decision to close our schools, based on the direction we receive from local and state health officials.

Beginning on Friday, March 13, we ask that students and staff begin to bring home any materials, on a daily basis, that they would need in order to complete assignments in the event of a school closure. This includes their Chromebooks.

We are asking any student who does not have high-speed internet access at home to fill out this form to request a mobile hotspot.

Effective immediately, based on guidance from the Skokie Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health, large school events will be cancelled until further notice.

We will cancel or postpone all school-sponsored large after-school events that include members of the public. This includes the Niles North musical production, music concerts, and the College Fair that was scheduled for March 17 at Niles West.

The March 13 pep assemblies at Niles North and Niles West will also be cancelled.

Beginning March 16, all field trips, competitions and conferences will be cancelled or postponed until further notice.

This includes all field trips, all out-of-district competitions attended by students and all conferences attended by faculty and staff members. Each building will communicate with impacted staff, families, travel agencies and other partners to assist in seeking refunds or rescheduling the trip or event, if possible.

We are currently seeking guidance from the Illinois High School Association about athletic competitions.

Cleaning, sanitizing and precautionary measures
Our maintenance teams continue to clean and sanitize high-touch places and high-contact places in our buildings, including desks, handrails, doorknobs, faucet handles, phones, etc.

The following resources provide guidance related to COVID-19, as well as mitigation strategies for home, school and the workplace:

Coronavirus information from the Skokie Health Department

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illinois Department of Public Health

Illinois has also established a COVID-19 hotline and email address. If you have specific questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Illinois COVID-19 hotline at 800-889-3931 or via email at dph.sick@illinois.gov

We recognize that this unprecedented public health emergency presents our community with significant challenges and causes much stress and anxiety. We are working hard to stay on top of developments in our community and will continue to work diligently with our local and state health experts to make the best decisions possible.

Thank you for your understanding and for your patience. We are fortunate to live in a community that has the resources, the capacity and the desire to help us all work together for the health and welfare of our community. Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools and of our students during these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

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Township Superintendents letter to families re: coronavirus

Dear Niles Township Families:

All the public school districts that serve the students of Niles Township, including Niles Township District for Special Education, have been working collaboratively to monitor developments in our community regarding COVID-19 (the coronavirus). We have been in ongoing communication with the Skokie Health Department, which provides us guidance on specific questions we have, and have also been following updates from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Cook County Public Health Department, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As of this morning, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community, and our goal is to continue our students’ academic days as normally scheduled and with no interruption. That being said, we are proactively preparing so we can keep students and our staff members safe. In the event that conditions change, we will work with our local health agencies and with each other to keep you informed of the steps we are taking in response. We have been fielding questions from family members who would like to know what steps we are currently taking to keep students safe, what plans we will implement if we need to close school, and if we have any special information about spring break. We’ll address those areas in this letter.

What are we doing to keep our students and staff healthy?

We ask all students and staff who are exhibiting fever or virus symptoms to stay home. This includes fever or coughing. Our teachers and staff members will work with your student to make up work if they need to miss school.

As you do to prevent any respiratory virus, we recommend everyday practices that will help keep you healthy and avoid illness. Please remember the following good health habits:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Do not share water bottles or similar containers.

  • Visit a doctor if you have a fever, cough, body aches, and/or fatigue.

  • If you or a family member is sick, stay home and limit contact with others.

If you feel sick and are wondering about your condition, contact your personal physician.

Will there be school closures?

We will follow the direction provided by the IDPH, Skokie Health Department and CDC in order to make any decisions such as closing a school building or canceling large events. At this time, the Skokie Health Department does not recommend that we alter our school days or regularly scheduled school activities. Because of the gravity of COVID-19, the Skokie Health Department will alert us if there are any changes in their recommendations.

Similar to school closings for weather, our school calendars include up to 5 emergency make- up days at the end of the year which may need to be used if schools are closed. The districts are having conversations about alternative lessons, which would be district-specific.

What about Spring Break travel?

If families plan to travel over spring break, we recommend they monitor the CDC website, which includes information about COVID-19, and provides up-to-date travel information about specific locations. Here is the website:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices#travel-notice-definitions

The following information comes from the State Superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education:

Can districts exclude students, staff, or volunteers for 14 days if they present at school after having visited a region affected by the virus?

No. If a student, staff member, or volunteer presents at school with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing after visiting an affected region, school authorities should immediately notify the local health department.

Districts cannot exclude or deny enrollment or education to students who are residents of the district due to travel considerations. Enrollment or exclusion decisions cannot be made using a student’s travel history, and a district should not inquire as to a student’s travel history for enrollment purposes. Decisions to quarantine students must be made by state or local public health officials. Districts must not apply standards that may be discriminatory for only one group of students.

If a student, staff member, or volunteer calls ahead and reports a history of travel to one of the affected geographic locations within the last 14 days and has concerning symptoms, collect detailed history over the phone prior to deciding the location for triage. School authorities should contact their local health department immediately.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions about your school, please contact your school’s principal or health office.

Here are links to some agency websites that provide valuable information:

Link to Skokie Health Department coronavirus update

Link to Centers for Disease Control coronavirus information

Link to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) coronavirus information

Link to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) coronavirus FAQs (IDPH)

Link to State of Illinois Board of Education coronavirus guidance for schools

Link to CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notice

Link to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation video with helpful information about coronavirus as found on the Skokie Public Health Department website

Sincerely,

Dr. Beth Flores, Golf School District 67

Dr. James Garwood, Skokie School District 68

Dr. Margaret Clauson, Skokie — Morton Grove School District 69

Brad W. Voehringer, Ed.S., Morton Grove School District 70

Dr. John Kosirog, Niles School District 71

Dr. Cindy Whittaker, Fairview South School District 72

Dr. Scott Thompson, East Prairie School District 73

Kate Donegan, Ed.S., Skokie School District 73.5

Dr. Kimberly Nasshan, Lincolnwood School District 74

Dr. Steven Isoye, Niles Township High School District 219

Tarin Kendrick, Ed.S., Niles Township District for Special Education 807

Clip art - college - university

Date Change: Financial Aid Program To Be Held on APRIL 7

The “Understanding Financial Aid and College Cost” Night for Junior Students and their Parents will be held Tuesday, APRIL 7th, in the Niles North Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 pm. Niles Township Juniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend this D219 Event. The program is to inform students and their parents about the financial assistance and scholarship process as they get ready to apply to college next year. Don’t miss out on this FREE event!

Translation services will be available in the following languages: Spanish, Korean, Urdu, Assyrian, and Arabic.

NW Student Sarah Waters

NWN Editor Named Runner-Up for IL HS Journalist of the Year

NW Student Sarah WatersCongratulations to Niles West News editor Sarah Waters on being named the runner-up for Illinois High School Journalist of the Year. She will be honored at the Illinois Journalism Education Association’s (IJEA) annual State Journalism Luncheon on May 30 in Springfield, IL. She will also represent the state of Illinois at Nationals in the event that the winner is unable to attend.

JEA State Director Brenda Field, MJE commented, “Your portfolio reflected outstanding work as a student journalist—your passion, your expertise and your leadership are evident in your work. You have made a positive difference in serving your school community.”

Congratulations to Sarah on her extraordinary accomplishment! She is the first Niles West student to receive this recognition. View her impressive list of articles here: https://nileswestnews.org/staff_profile/sarah-waters/

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Superintendent Message re. Coronavirus

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Dear D219 Students and Parents/Guardians:

Niles Township High School District 219 is closely monitoring developments regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), including information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health. We are also working in cooperation with the Village of Skokie Health Department, which is available to advise us whenever there is a public health or safety concern that may affect students.

As with any respiratory virus, we recommend everyday practices that will help keep you healthy and avoid illness. Please remember the following good health habits:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share water bottles or similar containers.
  • Visit a doctor if you have a fever, cough, body aches, and/or fatigue.
  • If you or a family member is sick, stay home and limit contact with others.

Below are links to more information about the coronavirus:

Centers for Disease Control
CDC Coronavirus
This CDC site includes information about COVID-19, and provides travel information that might be helpful to those planning trips over spring break.

Illinois Department of Public Health
http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus

D219 will continue to take reasonable steps to keep our school functioning as normal, including routine cleaning. In the event D219 receives additional information about the coronavirus that leads us to take any additional precautions, we will inform students, parents, staff and community members.

Sincerely,

Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools