Dear Winnetka Neighbors,
Since March, we have been asked to think and act in different ways, adjust to a constantly-changing atmosphere, and make a number of compromises in our daily lives that will help support our community in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Vigilance about mask-wearing, social distancing, and maintaining sanitization of hands and personal spaces has required major changes in the ways in which we live, work, and socialize.
As we segue from summer to fall, and the beginning of the school year for the children in our community, your Village and District leaders are doing their best to plan for an unprecedented situation. In accordance with guidance from the State of Illinois, Illinois School Board of Education, and Illinois Department of Public Health, our school year will look very different this year to best support the safety and health of our community. We are mindful that the spread of the virus anywhere in our community is dangerous for everyone involved and have thoughtfully identified best practices to help support the safest way forward for our children, teachers, and administrators.
In early spring, we were unaware of the critical need to wear masks around others. We now know that masks are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing has become an accepted practice, but maintaining social distancing can be difficult, as it is our natural instinct to be close with one another as friends and neighbors.
As the weather turns colder, we will be inside for longer durations of time. We have learned that air circulation, natural to the outdoors, is another way to avoid concentrated exposure to the virus, should you unknowingly be in proximity to a carrier. Summer weather has been conducive to outdoor activities, though we have seen spikes in case numbers because of gatherings that occur without best practices in place.
The combination of colder weather and the fact that our children will be back in school on a hybrid schedule makes it more critical than ever for each of us to maintain the practices we know work to prevent the spread of the virus, and to encourage best practices in others such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, maintaining social distancing, staying home if you are sick, and getting tested if you experience symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
We know the last thing anyone wants is a spike in COVID-19 cases. With this in mind, let’s encourage each other to follow public health guidance that will support the well-being of our community, the recovery of our economy, and a return to schools (with safety measures in place). We are confident that if we take seriously the identified best practices of mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, and staying home if you are sick, we can limit the spread of this disease in Winnetka.
We appeal to each of you to help us. We are all in this together, and by taking this threat seriously we can each be a part of the solution.
President, District 36 School Board
President, Winnetka Park District Board of Commissioners