A COVID-19 precaution reminder at School District 166. Photo by Rhonda Silence
Rhonda Silence

New cases of COVID-19 at School District 166

On Thursday, October 7, the Cook County COVID-19 website was updated, letting the community know that there were 10 new cases in the previous week, bringing the total number of cases to 234 since the beginning of the pandemic. At least one of those cases is among the student population at School District 166.

WTIP reached out to Superintendent Chris Lindholm, who confirmed that the school had a student who had tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing was completed and Lindholm said four students are required to quarantine. Lindholm added that several other students do not have to quarantine because they are vaccinated.

However, during the interview on October 8, Lindholm said the school had just been notified of another positive COVID-19 test for a student in a lower grade. Lindholm said contact tracing began immediately and families will be notified of the need for quarantine, if necessary, as soon as possible.

Lindholm acknowledged the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the last weeks in the community and said it was inevitable that the coronavirus would spread to the school. He added that our school has done relatively well in keeping COVID-19 out of the school, especially in comparison with other schools across the region.

In the letter to parents, Lindholm said, “As we work through this incident, please know that we are working hard to continue following the recommendations of the CDC and MDH.

“We are grateful for our Public Health officials and their diligence working through these cases with the parties involved. Our focus is to ensure the safety of all staff, students, and the community.

“We are grateful for the continuing work of all families and community members to follow the recommendations of public health to reduce the spread of COVID 19 and for being a caring and respectful community as we continue to work through these challenges. Be well in the weeks ahead!” Lindholm wrote.

Changes in school administrative staff coming

In other school news, WTIP asked Lindholm about plans to fill the vacancy of Assistant Principal and Activities Director Mitch Dorr, who has submitted his resignation and will be leaving ISD 166 on November 1.

Lindholm said the two positions held by Dorr were advertised to staff at the school. Lindholm said he believes there are staff members with the skills and knowledge to fill those positions “short-term.” The school district will look at permanently filling the positions in the spring, when it is more typically the time to hire school staff.

School survey seeks community input
Finally, Superintendent Lindholm asked for the public’s help in strategic planning for ISD 166. Lindholm said the strategic plan guides the school board and administration on priorities, resource management and long term goals. A survey has been created to accept community input on these long range goals.

Lindholm notes that preschool students this fall will graduate in the year 2035, so the school district knows it must help students prepare for careers that may not yet be created. Lindholm said he wants to hear the thoughts on this from the community.
The survey will be available on the Cook County Schools website through October. To participate in the survey, click here: ISD 166 Strategic Plan Community Input

In an interesting note for parents, one of the survey questions is “First, please share any needs your students may have due to the COVID pandemic.”

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Superintendent Chris Lindholm about the survey, COVID-19 at the school and staffing in this interview.