Metrics Update 10/30

Update from the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team
Posted on 10/30/2020
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

Wilmette Public Schools District 39
Mikaelian Education Center
615 Locust Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

Metrics Team Update:

Our District 39 Metrics Reopening Advisory Team holds its weekly meeting every Friday morning. The purpose of the Metrics Team is to study important school-relevant metrics of COVID-19 and the District’s Reopening Plan in order to guide adjustments to our reopening efforts and improvements in health and safety protocol. This morning, the Team reviewed the most recent D39 Metrics Dashboard and full report. Below are critical updates from the Team’s review.

Here are a couple of topics discussed by the Team.

  1. We have seen COVID transmission metrics shifted in the direction of the red zone in the regional data on our Metrics Dashboard. The increase in COVID-19 Positivity Rates and New Cases per 100k Population indicates an increased risk of community spread of COVID-19. Regionally, the positivity rate for Region 10 reached 8% on 8/24/20. Locally, Wilmette and the New Trier Township zip codes are reporting significantly lower positivity rates which is very favorable to us; however, the new cases per 100k population inched back into the substantial risk range yesterday. The metrics continue to inform the need for increased awareness, monitoring and vigilance throughout our community as well as consideration of the need for adjustments to our programming. We will continue to carefully monitor transmission rates and cases closely. You can monitor these data by reviewing the charts on our D39 Metrics Dashboard or by accessing the live data directly via the links under the Sources for Relevant Metrics and the Live COVID-19 Metrics Update sections of the dashboard.
  2. The team thoughtfully considered the need for adjustments to programming for the coming weeks. While we do not have plans to move to remote programming at this time, there remains a very real possibility that the district may need to consider a pivot to remote learning in the future if community cases and positivity rates experience a significant increase.
  3. While we are not planning to pivot to remote learning at this time, everyone should be alert to the possibility for an adaptive pause to in-person instruction at some point in the future. Consider what might be most helpful to prepare in case there is a need for a transition to short-term remote learning for your classroom, school or the district.  The team will also be looking at potential adjustments for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, and will be discussing these adjustments over the next two meetings.

What might cause a transition to remote programming?

While we do not have plans to move to remote programming at this time, we will continue to closely monitor the metrics to inform our decisions, adjustments and evaluation in ongoing ways. There are several reasons why a classroom, a school or the district might shift to remote learning.

  1. COVID-19 Positive Case(s) Identified: When there is a COVID-19 positive case identified, the district works with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) to conduct contact tracing and determine how best to isolate the case.  An identified case may lead to quarantine of an individual and his/her close contact, quarantine of a classroom; and/or, the short-term transition to remote learning for a school.
  2. Governmental Guidance or OrderThe district is prepared to shift to remote learning if the Northeast Region 10 moves to Phase 3 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan; guidance from ISBE/IDPH changes; or the Cook County Health Department advises transition to fully remote programming.
  3. Operational Challenge:The district or one of its schools or classrooms may need to shift to remote learning if it cannot safely implement the health and safety guidelines and protocol of the reopening plan. Currently, staffing is one of the challenges we are closely monitoring. As we all demonstrate tremendous care and vigilance in responding to symptoms of illness and quarantine, we experience more absences. We continue to carefully monitor our ability to safely staff and operate our schools.
  4. Adjustment Based on Metrics:The district may make adjustments to its in-person model based on its ongoing metrics review and the recommendation of the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team.  Our thresholds of mild, moderate and substantial risk levels have been established to help guide these considerations. These include consideration of an adaptive pause to in-person instruction if community spread metrics show:
    1. Sustained COVID-19 Positivity Rates above 8%;
    2. Sustained increase in New Cases per 100k above 100 for two consecutive weeks with a greater than 20% increase occurring each week;
    3. A county remaining in the “ORANGE” in the County-Level Metrics for two consecutive weeks.

The Metrics Team remains committed to ongoing review of its metrics and may need to recommend an adaptive pause to in-person instruction in the future if we do not continue to see the metrics for community spread stabilize or decline. 

The Metrics Team asked that I implore everyone to continue to remain vigilant in demonstrating healthy habits throughout our community.  As the weekend approaches and we look forward to nice outdoor weather and the potential of Halloween celebrations, we remind everyone that social distancing, avoiding crowds and wearing a mask are critical to reducing the community spread of the virus, even outdoors.  We must all remain alert and diligent. In school and throughout our community, please continue to be vigilant in in adhering to the three Ws to keep our community and one another healthy.

  • Watch your distancing.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Wear a mask.

Please, please, please stay safe throughout the weekend ahead and next week.  Keep your distance, avoid crowds, wear a mask and practice healthy habits. 

For more information regarding our ongoing COVID-19 metrics review, please visit our D39 Metrics Dashboard page.

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