While the large school district south of Howard Street remains closed as teachers and administration fight over COVID logs, Evanston Township High School is ready to reopen as scheduled on Monday.
However, ETHS reminds students and staff that additional steps are being taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus, especially the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
In a website memo to the community, ETHS says the COVID tests will be expanded this semester, with all students (except those whose families reject them) being tested weekly, regardless of vaccination status. These tests begin on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Students and employees are also reminded that masks are required at all times and that they can only be removed briefly to eat or drink.
The school community is asked to take loving responsibility for one another by wearing a mask over the nose and mouth within ETHS.
Students are reminded of the correct mask protocol when they are not wearing one properly or at all, and “additional measures are taken if necessary” to ensure that the masks are properly seated.
In addition to a COVID dashboard showing the number of new cases and people in quarantine, ETHS will also have a lunch location dashboard this semester that is “updated daily with available lunch spots”.
When weather permits, students are advised to eat outdoors, although this seems more practical towards the end of the school year than in January or February.
The COVID dashboard will show 20 new student cases and 29 new employee cases as of January 7th. That is significantly fewer student cases than before the two-week winter break. Testing over the holiday, or whether there is really a downward trend.
The last five days of school before the winter break were an “adjustment break” during which lessons were held remotely rather than in person.
ETHS says students and staff may need additional assistance when they return to the building so that connections are provided to the required resources.
The district also says it will provide “information on emergency protocols, violence prevention practices and crisis planning” in separate communications.
Evanston / Skokie District 65, the primary and middle school feeder system for ETHS, has postponed the start of classroom training by one day to Tuesday. Monday is a distance learning day.
District 65 is also offering COVID testing for students and staff in the Joseph E. Hill Administration Building, Chute Middle School and for Park School students in the school on Monday.