Top Bar

A 21st-century learning community rooted in tradition and excellence.

Mobile Menu Trigger


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information

This page is designed to provide District 38 parents, students, and staff, the latest information regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 and our school community. Please be aware that we will continue to closely follow situational updates from the CDC, the IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and apply guidance from these organizations as we monitor the situation and plan for preparedness in support of the health and safety of our students and staff.

News posted in order of appearance, most recent first.

March 27, 2020

Reminder: Remote Learning Returns on Tuesday, March 31

First and foremost, we hope you are staying well. We are all adjusting to the current circumstances that all of us are facing during this unprecedented time. This is a reminder that we will not be providing Remote Learning on Monday, March 30, as it is a teacher preparation day. Remote Learning will return on Tuesday, March 31, and we ask parents to log in their students on our Remote Learning Web Page Attendance Form by 10:00 a.m. each day. Knowing who is participating in Remote Learning allows us to be able to evaluate the process at The Joseph Sears School. Attendance information helps teachers to know which students are attending so that they can respond to students and support them with their learning at home. As a reminder, the school building and the school playgrounds are currently closed.

Please see the timeline below for more specific details regarding this closure and remote learning plans:
  • Monday, March 30 - School will be closed. Our teachers will be working in preparation for additional Remote Learning Days. No remote learning will occur.
  • Tuesday, March 31 - Thursday, April 9 - Remote Learning Days. Attendance is due by 10 a.m.
  • Friday, April 10 - No School/Non-Instructional Day No remote learning will occur.
  • Monday, April 13 - Independent Learning Day. Teachers will make learning experiences available to students. However, teachers will use the day for planning and preparation.
  • Tuesday, April 14 - Instructional Day.
We are still awaiting guidance on many issues and are working on how to implement new guidelines as they come along. We will communicate further about Remote Learning at Sears on Monday, March 30.

Surveys are available on the Remote Learning Website for parents and students to give us feedback on our Remote Learning strategies. Please take a moment to help us understand how we can make this process better.

Here are links to contact email administrators and staff as needed:

March 19, 2020

IMPORTANT: Remote Learning Update

Thank you so much for all that you have been doing to support our students’ learning, healthy habits, and sense of community, connection, and normalcy during this global crisis. We are all balancing so much in our lives right now, and we realize it is difficult to maintain routines at home while many of us have been substantially impacted in our own professions. Our teachers have been working very hard to make this as valuable an experience as possible since we announced this to them last Thursday. We know you join us in our appreciation of their efforts to ensure continued learning for our students.

As you all know, on March 13, Governor Pritzker made an emergency declaration to close schools statewide until March 30 to slow the spread of COVID-19. While there are several indications the State will extend this school closure timeline, there has been no official announcement yet. With spring break approaching, we have made a decision about post-spring break in an effort to allow staff and families time to plan and prepare. All New Trier Township schools will be extending school closures through Monday, April 13, 2020. The Township Districts will modify this plan in alignment with the Governor’s orders, should the need occur. Please see the timeline below for more specific details regarding this closure and e-Learning plans.

      • Monday, March 23 - Friday, March 27: Spring Break No remote learning will occur. We are encouraging our teachers and community to take time to rest and rejuvenate as families. We will be providing resources for you to engage in over spring break in our edition of Sears to Home tomorrow, Friday, March 20. We encourage all of our students to continue to read for pleasure each day, to engage in some exercise and creative play, and to get fresh air when possible. Please see below for some additional guidance regarding social distancing.
      • Monday, March 30: School will be closed. Our teachers will be working in preparation for additional Remote Learning Days. Our school will be open with limited access to staff only for resource pick-up and other staff needs. No remote learning will occur.
      • Tuesday, March 31 - Thursday, April 9: Remote Learning Days (note 4-day week)
      • Friday, April 10: School/Non-Instructional Day No remote learning will occur.
      • Monday, April 13: School will be closed. Teacher workday in preparation for instruction in whichever modality is deemed best based upon situational guidance from our state health and education officials. No remote learning will occur.
      • Tuesday, April 14: Instructional Day

We are still awaiting guidance on many issues and are working on how to implement new guidelines as they come along. We will continue to keep you updated as the information comes to us.

We believe that this week we have built a strong foundation for remote learning that will set us up for success after spring break. Tomorrow morning, surveys will be available on the Remote Learning Website for parents and students to give us feedback. Please take a moment to help us understand how we can make this process better.

We are all trying to become more comfortable with the uncertainty of this situation. Our school is proof that incredible things can happen when we embrace the opportunity that uncertainty provides. We will get through this together!

Social Distancing Tips flyer

March 18, 2020

We are highly encouraging participation in Remote Learning and Attendance.

We ask parents to log in their students on our Remote Learning Web Page Attendance Form by 10:00 a.m. each day. Knowing who is participating in Remote Learning allows us to be able to evaluate the process at The Joseph Sears School. Attendance information helps teachers to know which students are participating so that they can respond to students and support them with their learning at home. While taking attendance is not required during the mandated school closure, our teachers are working diligently to prepare lessons and materials for students each day.

The schoolhouse will be closed for spring break, March 23 through March 27, and we will not be engaging in Remote Learning.

Thank you for your understanding as we work through this new learning experience for our students and community.

March 15, 2020

IMPORTANT: Remote Learning March 16 and 'Act of God' days March 17-30, 2020

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones feeling well. Again, we know this is a stressful time for everyone as we make sure that all of our friends and family are safe. We are all in this together. We have been and continue to work closely with leaders across the state and community on this situation and we appreciate your partnership and support.

Remote Learning
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) determined on March 13, at 4 p.m. that Tuesday, March 17 to March 30, 2020, will be “Act of God” days. Act of God days count toward the required number of student attendance days in the Public School Calendar and will not be required to make up. This affords districts the ability to support their communities in ways that are locally appropriate, without penalty or undue burden. The ISBE is also asking all schools to support students with continuous learning experiences throughout this time to maintain a sense of normalcy and continuity of education for our children. Remote Learning experiences are not required after tomorrow, Monday, March 16, but are highly encouraged. Therefore, we will be engaging in Remote Learning on Monday, March 16, and ask that you log your student(s) into our Remote Learning Web Page attendance form by 10:00 a.m.

After Monday, we will continue to encourage students to participate in Remote Learning. As some families may choose to continue with Remote Learning, we are asking those parents to indicate that their student is present on the Remote Learning Web Page attendance form every day. Teachers will be available to support them during school hours, 8:10 a.m. - 3:15 p.m., and provide updated resources and materials as originally planned. Any work or assessments that are collected will not be graded or used to report progress. All content areas will be offering Remote Learning opportunities. Please be sure your children check for work offered by the “specials” classes, as well. Teachers have been preparing for this since Friday and this situation has been very fluid. Please understand that some of the resources were prepared prior to the most recent announcement from ISBE, and there is no expectation for your child to complete all curriculum provided on an "Act of God" day.

Email is the preferred contact method for all staff, but if email is not available to you and you need to reach out to the school with any questions, the School Office phone line (847) 256-5006 will be monitored during school hours.

Here are links to contact email administrators and staff as needed:

Tech Support Tech Support Form

Building Access March 16 - March 20
The point of this school closure is to maintain social distancing, therefore we are closing the building for all non-essential or pre-approved purposes. Our case managers will be keeping in touch with students who struggle with learning or emotional needs and will inform administration if any students need support that they can only get in the schoolhouse. At that point, we will problem solve as a team.

Building Access March 23 - 27
The schoolhouse will be closed for spring break and we will not be engaging in Remote Learning.

We will continue to take this one step at a time, as we proceed together into this new landscape. We know that there will be an ongoing discussion at the federal and state level regarding closures beyond March 30. We will communicate regularly and keep you updated as information comes to us. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how we can support you. Thank you all again and please continue to send your questions so that we may continue to work on our Remote Learning FAQ for Parents, which will be updated regularly.

As we are writing this communication, recommendations on social distancing are being adjusted. Social Distancing is an effective measure to slow the spread of COVID-19, and for it to be most effective and not anxiety-producing for our students, we ask that you take the following actions with your students and families based on recommendations by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Avoid gathering in public places - especially in close proximity to others.
  • Avoid close contact with those that are sick.
  • Try to keep 6-10 feet between yourself and others - give yourself space.
  • Be at home as much as possible.
  • Try to limit who you and your children interact with to only the same people you are typically around.

Kids and families should avoid:
  • Gathering in large groups - this is a time to be close with those that are closest to you.
  • Sharing food or drink.
  • Competing in team sporting activities - use this time to train individually or with someone in the home.

Kids and families should:
  • Avoid excessive media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Take care of their body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
  • Spend time outside - fresh air and exercise are some of the best things you can do over the next few weeks.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with friends or family members. Maintain healthy relationships.
  • Use your technology and social media for good purposes - support one another and show that you care for one another.
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.

Keep following the practice of washing your hands regularly and covering your cough or sneeze.

Also, here is another resource for you in supporting your child with stability while school is closed.

March 13, 2020

Remote Learning and FAQ

At 3:30 p.m. today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker held a teleconference with all Illinois school superintendents prior to a scheduled 4:00 p.m. press conference. The governor has closed all Illinois schools to students from March 17 - 30. However, Governor Pritzker did not address Remote Learning plans. Thus, the Remote Learning plan component of school closing plans may be subject to further change or clarification by Governor Pritzker, the Illinois State Board of Education, and/or Illinois Superintendent Carmen Ayala. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate known decisions. We will update you with any additional related information as it becomes available.

Kenilworth District 38 is implementing Remote Learning procedures beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. While Remote Learning days cannot duplicate what happens in the classroom, we will prepare lessons and activities that allow children to remain engaged in their learning and further their skill development. Instructional methods will vary from grade to grade. All remote learning will be meaningful and designed to keep students on pace to continue their schoolwork.

During Remote Learning, students will access attendance and assignments through the Remote Learning Web Page.

Although you can access portions of the web page now, teachers will not have final learning plans available until 8:00 a.m. on March 16. There will be no Remote Learning required during Spring Break, March 23 through March 27, 2020.

Please review Frequently Asked Questions posted on the Remote Learning Web Page as it will answer many questions regarding this process. We will update the document as necessary.

We understand that the uncertainty of this situation may be stressful for adults and children. We encourage you to talk with your children over the weekend and assure them that adults are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy. We have many resources available on our website on how to talk to children about COVID-19.

Here are some tips:

The purpose of this school closure is social distancing for community health. Social distancing actions are taken to restrict when and where people gather to stop or slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID‐19) or other infectious diseases in communities.

Social distancing actions include:

  • Avoid shopping at peak hours and take advantage of delivery or pick‐up services with retailers.
  • Keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a social greeting.
  • Avoid public transit if possible and don’t travel to areas with active outbreaks.
  • Avoid crowded places. Events with 1,000 or more people have been canceled. Community events with 250 or more should be canceled or postponed. At this time, major sports events are canceled.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have soap or water, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you’re sick.

We further advise families to reconsider playdates, meet-ups, and other gatherings that would have people in close proximity to each other. And above all, please do not engage with others if you are ill. If you have questions about COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health is recommending you call 1-800-889-3931 or email

District 38 will be using email to keep you informed. We will also include updates on our website. Email is the preferred contact method, but if email is not available to you, the School Office phone line (847) 256-5006 will be monitored during school hours. Teachers and administrators will be checking email during school hours 8:10 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Parents must submit their attendance or absence daily by 10:00 a.m. on each school day. You must do this for each child separately. To do this, please access The Joseph Sears School’s Remote Learning Web Page at:

You will mark your student present or absent by clicking on ATTENDANCE and providing the necessary information. If you do not log in and sign in your student by 10 a.m., you will get a follow-up email or call to check on your student’s status.

Parents will be required to submit student:
  • First and Last Name
  • ID Number
  • Grade Level
  • Teacher/Advisor Name
  • Indicate Present or Absent
  • If Absent, Reason for Absence
You will be receiving an email from Powerschool that includes your student’s five-digit ID number. This will be necessary when submitting your attendance. You will have an ID number for each student. If you have any questions regarding attendance, you can email

We are committed to following CDC recommendations and to do our part in taking preventative measures to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. While we have not been notified of any staff or students being diagnosed with COVID-19 at this time, we believe the evidence that makes it increasingly clear that it is better for schools to close to slow the spread of the disease. Although it seems that the coronavirus has primarily impacted people 60 and older, the reality is that even if our students are less likely to be adversely affected, they still may be carriers of the disease. Thank you for your continued partnership and support as we look forward to making remote learning successful and productive for our students during this developing situation. As always, feel free to reach out to us at any time should you have any questions or concerns.

March 12, 2020


Based on the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and recommendations from public health officials, we are canceling school for students tomorrow, March 13, 2020. While we have no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the District, we are shifting to our remote learning plan in an abundance of caution. Remote learning will begin Monday, March 16, 2020, and continue until further notice. Our school building will be closed to students beginning Friday, March 13. ALL activities and events in the school building are canceled as of 5:00 p.m. today and until further notice.

If your student was absent and unable to get their remote learning device, or band instrument, stop by the school office on Friday, March 13, to pick it up during open office hours from 8:10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Contact your student's teacher with any other questions or to arrange item pick-up.

The remainder of this letter addresses a number of issues related to COVID-19, including:
● Remote Learning
● Spring Break Travel
● Sports, Clubs, and Community Events
● Communication with Families

Remote Learning
We are implementing remote learning plans starting Monday, March 16, 2020, to continue instruction and offer some consistency to our students. An email with a link to our remote learning website will be shared with parents on Friday, March 13. Teachers will be communicating with students throughout the remote learning process. Please be patient as we will be refining our systems and improve as we move along. Teachers will begin posting remote learning plans beginning at 7:30 a.m. on March 16.

Spring Break Travel
The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance regarding quarantining for anyone who has traveled to a high-risk country. Presently, those include China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Travelers returning from Spring Break trips to these countries would need to be in quarantine for 14 days (without symptoms) prior to returning to school. Such missed days would not be counted against the student, and we would take steps to initiate remote learning opportunities for such students.

Please continue to monitor CDC guidance in this regard as the identification of high-risk travel destinations may change quickly. The District cannot prevent students from returning to school unless they are confirmed to be in required quarantine or are symptomatic for COVID-19 or have tested positive for it. Still, please use all necessary caution when deciding to return to school after Spring Break travel.

Sports, Clubs, and Community Events
All sports practices, team gatherings, and competitions, performances, clubs, class activities, and other events are canceled until further notice. We discourage students from organizing their own gatherings.

Communication with Families
We will continue to provide you with regular updates as this situation develops. For the latest information, please visit our website and monitor your email and phone for messages from the District. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic and guidance for schools, we will continue to communicate regularly with families about our plans. Expect additional updates throughout the next several days. Communications will also be posted on our website at

Additionally, it is essential for our students that we model measured behavior and rely on each other for support. Our students take their cues from the significant adults in their lives, and we can weather this challenging time together by refraining from alarmist or stress-inducing language in their presence. Our principals have shared some information related to speaking with your children about COVID-19, and we are also including these resources here:

This is a stressful and unprecedented situation for our school, our families, and our local and global community. We know there will be bumps in the road along the way, but together we will support our students and do what is best for them. We are proud to be part of a community with such a strong history of support for education. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation together.

Thank you for your partnership,

Dr. Crystal LeRoy
Kenilworth School District No. 38
(847) 853-3805

Dr. Lisa Leali
Chief Education Officer
Kenilworth School District No. 38
(847) 853-3822

March 6, 2020

Township School Districts United in Safety and Prevention Efforts

School districts in New Trier Township are working collaboratively with each other and with local agencies and public health officials as we monitor developments regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus). The situation is rapidly evolving, as is guidance from public health agencies on potential school responses.

Our primary concern is student safety and wellness. While at this time we do not have any local cases in our schools, all of our school districts are preparing in a number of areas so we can keep students safe and continue instruction in case of a large number of absences or potential school closure. There are still many unknowns about this illness, and we are preparing for any number of scenarios. We will continue to update this page with any developments.

Proactive steps District 38 is taking now to keep students and staff healthy

We are employing extra cleaning and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of any virus, including COVID-19. These measures include keeping soap, wipes, and hand sanitizer stocked in bathrooms and classrooms, and wiping down high-contact areas more frequently.

We also want all students and staff with a fever or virus symptoms to stay home. Teachers and administrators will work with students to create a plan to make up work if they have an extended absence. It is important not to come to school if you feel sick. Please know that our school nurse may ask additional questions when parents report an absence to make sure we have as much information as possible to offer guidance and make sure students are healthy.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus is for students and staff to follow the CDC's recommended guidelines for staying healthy. We have been sharing this information with families and students regularly, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of tissue in trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Delivering instruction in case of a school closure or many extended absences

District 38 is also preparing e-learning plans so that we can continue instruction even if schools are shut down or if a large number of students must stay home. We will communicate our plan with parents and will give both parents and students specific instructions in the case that one or more e-learning days are used. Please watch your email for information on e-learning and more specific guidance as we develop these plans, which must be approved by the state before they can be implemented.

Spring break family travel

The CDC has launched a frequently updated website on COVID-19 that is a good reference on the virus: . This website also includes information for travelers, and we recommend that you visit this page for the most up-to-date travel warnings if you are planning a trip during spring break:

School trips, extracurricular activities, and other concerns

We are monitoring guidance on athletics, extracurricular activities, and other large gatherings. While right now we are going forward with activities as usual, the situation is fluid. We will inform parents of decisions both on individual events and district-wide decisions . We will use our normal parent emergency notification systems should we need to close school or inform parents of a specific development related to COVID-19.

Thank you as always for your partnership in keeping all of our students safe and healthy.