School revamps summer program for 2021

Classes to be entirely remote or entirely in-person, depending on department


NT News File Photo

At New Trier, the intense nature of extracurriculars prevents students in their pursuit of multiple activities and leadership opportunities

Following a year of education in a pandemic, New Trier is making changes to the Summer School 2021 program where classes will be taught either fully remote or fully in-person. 

According to the Summer School 2021 brochure, the summer school learning environment is subject to change based on Illinois Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines. As of right now, business education and social studies classes will be fully remote, while science, math, English, kinetic wellness, and driver education will meet in person. 

Assistant Principal for Administrative Services, Michael Lee, one of the several administrators in charge of making this decision, said remote, hybrid, and in-person options were discussed with the assistant superintendent and the director of curriculum and instruction.

All in-person classes will meet in accordance with Illinois department of health guidelines. They have the potential to be hybrid if state, school, or individual circumstances dictate. Assistant Principal for Student Services Scott Williams explained the expectations of students and teachers for summer school. 

“Students who are enrolled in an in-person class are expected to be at school unless there are some extenuating circumstances requiring the student to be quarantined. Classes such as the science classes are in-person due to the nature of the lab experiential learning component that is critical in learning and understanding science,” said Williams. 

Students like junior Sierra Miller, who are enrolled in a remote summer school class, believe that lessons should be offered as a hybrid learning experience. 

“I think it should be offered as both remote and in-person because everyone learns differently and remote learning could be difficult for people who don’t do as well online,” said Miller. 

Junior Luisa Struck said she does not agree that business classes should be fully remote. Struck believes that New Trier has the facilities and resources available to provide students with safe in-person direction. 

“The all-remote variation should remain an option, but if students wish to do so, they should be able to come in person. Of course we have to respect the time and resources of the PPS staff and all other NT staff keeping us safe, but I think the possibility of hosting students on campus could be adequately arranged,” said Struck. 

Junior Caleb Broadhurst thinks social studies and business education classes should remain remote due to the cases that have been occurring at New Trier. 

“I think remote learning presents students with a good opportunity in that it requires learning to be more self-sustaining. It’s good practice for the future and that’s where my motives lie. I plan on sticking to a relatively simple routine,” said Broadhurst. 

Science teacher John Miller said the administration has not yet asked teachers if they would like summer school teaching assignments. If he taught, Miller would like classes to be 100% in-person. 

“If I were to teach, it would be Physics at level 3 or 4 if it even runs. I would want classes to be zero remote. I believe kids learn science best by actively performing science,” said Miller. 

Lee said the requirement for daily RUVNA and weekly saliva screenings are being discussed, however he believes they will most likely continue. Teachers who are teaching a course that is “in-person” are expected to be teaching at school.

“For the most part, summer school will be fairly consistent with the opportunities available in the past. However, this summer provides more opportunities for students who are in need of credit recovery and completion,” said Williams. 

Students attending summer school in-person have mixed opinions on the school requiring in-person attendance. 

Junior Nicole Carbonell decided to take physics over the summer and is upset with the school’s decision requiring in-person science classes. 

“I am not happy about going in-person and think students should be able to decide themselves whether to be in-person or not. Kids and families should have freedom in deciding what’s best for themselves,” said Carbonell. 

Junior Ava Shah is also taking physics over the summer. Shah agrees that science classes should be an in-person class. 

“New Trier has done a really good job with its contact tracing to keep its staff and students safe. I know that New Trier is working hard on making it the safest environment possible for students to learn in,” said Shah. 

Lee said New Trier plans on following CDC guidelines that include wearing masks and staying socially distanced. 

“Given the impact of COVID, we are always in a state of assessing the impact COVID has on all school programming.  Hopefully, we will continue to see numbers improve as more people are vaccinated and adhere to health guidelines,” said Mr. Lee and Mr. Williams.