As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise among the student body, officials at New Trier High School announced Tuesday, January 4, the cancellation of final exams for all students.
In an email to parents, NTHS Superintendent Dr Paul Sally said the district had responded to concerns about school absences amid the COVID-19 peak.
“We know that keeping the school open benefits student learning and the socio-emotional health. However, we also know that this latest wave of COVID has affected many families, “Sally wrote,” and students are worried about missing classes if they are quarantined, especially before final exams. “
The exams have been set for January 18-19, which will now be a blue day and a green day respectively, based on the normal school timetable. Sally wrote that some teachers may give tests on these days, but they will not be “cumulative semester” exams. Absent students, he said, will have the opportunity to make up for any missed work.
The move comes as positive cases within the New Trèves school community continue to rise after a two-week winter break. The school reported 110 positive cases between students and staff on the first day of Monday, January 3, and 231 on the second day, Tuesday, January 4.
New Trier supports students who miss an extended time on campus by posting class content online, including notes and recorded lectures, Sally said.
While the district requires all students and staff to be tested for COVID-19 this week, most cases reported through Tuesday are self-reported by families in the district and do not come from Shield tests at the school, according to the district’s COVID dashboard.
The school’s Shield test positivity rate on Monday, Jan.3 was around 4.5% with 80 probable positives found. Sally wrote in the letter that the district expects higher numbers as testing continues this week.
Sally and New Trier officials, however, remain confident that mitigation efforts on campus keep the environment safe for in-person learning.
“Our numbers are at their highest this year, but our ventilation system and other mitigation measures keep students safe in our buildings,” he wrote in the letter. “Our students do very well with respect for masks and I have seen them wear better quality masks. In addition, any student can find a place for lunch that is socially distant from others. “
Positive COVID-19 counts also affect other local schools; although none have changed learning platforms at the time of publication. Winnetka District 36 has reported 113 positive cases among students since Monday, January 3, while Wilmette District 39 has reported 16 during the same period.
The North Shore Country Day School reported in an email to parents that only 11 of 592 samples were likely positive for COVID in a recent test of all students. However, more students who have declared themselves are not in school. The exact number of positive cases is unclear, as the school’s dashboard and website were down at the time of publication.
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