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Incoming freshmen at Barrington High School were able to tour the building in small groups and wearing face coverings during the Aug. 17, 2020 freshman orientation.

School has been in session – even if all-remote – for more than a week at high school districts in the north and northwest suburbs, and officials report it’s been a relatively smooth start.

A check with districts in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Highland Park and Lincolnshire turned up few glitches as they tens of thousands of students started the 2020-2021 academic year amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, with some creative beginnings that included limited in-person contact between students and teachers.

At Barrington High School, freshmen orientation was held Aug. 17, with small groups of ninth graders, all in masks and following health safety protocols, given a tour of the building. According to SD220 spokeswoman Samantha Ptashkin, many other students stopped by district buildings to pick up school-provided supplies and materials.

In an email, Ptashkin said the district is already bringing students in need of extra support into district buildings every morning. SD220 faculty are teaching from district buildings, giving remote instruction from their classrooms, she explained.

Barrington is typical of many districts starting remotely in insisting on student attendance and participation. In synchronous classes, where teachers and students are together by audiovisual link in real time, teachers will take attendance. In non-synchronous classes, where students are working independently, district officials say “evidence of engagement in learning activities” will confirm attendance and participation.

Read more here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced restrictions to recreational sports that would suspend activities like football, basketball, soccer and volleyball competitive matches in the coming months to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The sports restrictions go into effect Aug. 15 and apply to all youth and adult recreational sports, including schools, recreational leagues and park district programs.

As a result, the Illinois High School Association is shifting football, girls volleyball and boys soccer seasons to the spring with the hope that the pandemic’s grip will have lessened by 2021.

“I think most people realized you would not have a contact sport like football taking place now,” Barrington High School Athletic Director Mike Obuszt said. “It (spring football) will be something different happening, but I like it. Rather than just say, ‘We are canceling football this year,’ they found a spot in the calendar where they can give it a try.”

Read more here. The new sports guidelines (subject to change) are as follows:

(Click on image to enlarge)

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Sisters Colleen, Meghan, Maureen and Caitie Smithe, from left, say three key words have helped them carry their family-run furniture company into a fourth generation: fresh, young and relevant. They were each only a year apart, at one point covering all four grade levels at Barrington High School. They got on each other’s nerves and learned to talk quickly at the dinner table if they wanted to get a word in.

Chicagoans came to know and appreciate the three Smithe brothers who starred for years in quirky TV commercials touting their family-run furniture company.

Their interactions were zany, their dialogue lighthearted, their catchy jingle — “you dream it, we build it” — recognizable throughout the region. And they represented Walter E. Smithe with a sense of drive and zeal that can only exude from the third-generation stakeholders of what has become a household name.

“They were loved,” said Colleen Smithe, the youngest daughter of Walter Smithe III. “People really did love seeing them on their TVs.”

That’s why when she and her three sisters — Maureen, Meghan and Caitie — were asked a few years ago to transition into the role their father and uncles held for so long, they weren’t immediately receptive.

How, they wondered, would longtime customers respond to four new female faces on their television screens? How could the Itasca-based company break the mold and reach a new audience while still carrying its message into a fourth generation?

Read more here.

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Barrington’s Amelia Noyes pushes the creative envelope with her avant-garde and refreshing artistic style

We fell in love with Amelia Noyes’ art the minute we laid eyes on it. Her unique approach and unmistakable style offers a breath of fresh air, so welcome in our turbulent times. We spoke with the Barrington native who now lives in Los Angeles.

What are some fond memories of growing up in Barrington?

My parents enrolled me in a lot of art classes when I was growing up. I remember doing classes at Kaleidoscope.

What schools did you go to in the Barrington school district?

I attended Countryside Elementary and then went to a private middle school called Chicago Jr. Middle School. I attended Barrington High School.

Where did you go to school after BHS?

I attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado for my undergraduate degree where I received a BFA with an emphasis in Communication and minor in Fine Arts. In 2009, I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago attending one semester to get a degree in Graphic Design, but realized it was not the right fit for me. I later attended DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois to get a Masters in New Media.

Read the full Quintessential Barrington article here.

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The July monthly meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals will be held at in the cafeteria of Barrington High School located at 616 West Main Street in Barrington at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda, including instructions on participating remotely, may be viewed and downloaded here.

Face masks and social distancing are required at the meeting, and this will prove fortuitous for those planning to attend. The reason is based on written comments forwarded to the ZBA, a number of former Village officials from our rather darker years here in the Village will likely be in attendance. Masks and distance should obscure enough of their faces to prevent possible flashbacks leading to night terrors, so most people should be safe.

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Editorial note: If you attended Barrington High School prior to 1990, chances are you went to Phil’s Beach at one time or another.

The Bluesmobile makes its way down Phil’s Beach in Wauconda during the filming of “The Blues Brothers” in 1979.

After a lengthy wait prolonged by the COVID-19 crisis, Wauconda’s iconic Phil’s Beach is set to reopen to the public Wednesday.

Located on the western shore of Bangs Lake near downtown Wauconda, the beach formerly was a privately run attraction that had drawn customers from across the Chicago area for decades. The Wauconda Park District owns the site now, and in 2019 launched a $3 million renovation that wrapped up earlier this year.

A grand opening bash on Memorial Day weekend initially was envisioned, but the beach remained closed this spring because of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order.

Now that Illinois is in Phase 4 of the state’s recovery plan, the beach can welcome visitors.

“Our community has embraced this project from the beginning, and we are thrilled to finally be able to open,” park district Executive Director Nancy Burton said.

Read more here.

 

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Barrington athletes work out in small groups by following along with a video on the screen inside the stadium. The IHSA has approved small-group workouts as part of its return-to-play initiative.

Similar to many restaurants and businesses, local high school athletic departments have cautiously waded back to work this summer. The new normal, as permitted by the IHSA, allows for schools to offer voluntary strength and conditioning workouts. Sports-specific drills are not currently permitted.

Athletes have their temperatures checked at the start of each session and are asked if they have any specific symptoms. When training begins, they are required to maintain a social distance of 6 feet and train in groups of no more than 10 people, including the coach.

Glenbrook South athletic director Steve Rockrohr estimated 500 students are participating in workouts. At Barrington, about 225 students are participating, according to athletic director Mike Obsuszt. At both schools, the groups of 10 are co-ed and feature athletes from a range of sports. Rockrohr and Obsuszt said they think more students would have participated had additional sessions been feasible. 

Pioneer Press contributor Ryan Nilsson spoke with Rockrohr, Obsuszt and Timothy Christian athletic director Jack LeGrand to learn how the conditioning workouts were going. Stevenson athletic director Trish Betthauser answered the same questions via email.

Read more here.

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In a welcome announcement for restless college students, the University of Illinois confirmed Thursday that all three of its campuses will hold modified classes on campus this fall as long as the masses of students coming back wear face masks, undergo coronavirus tests and practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That means dorms, dining halls, research labs and other campus facilities will begin to reopen in some fashion, with amended protocols to protect students and faculty from falling ill, according to a joint statement issued by university leaders.

Exactly how college life will look this fall is top of mind for many students deciding whether to move back and reunite with classmates or remain at home and continue taking classes online. Northwestern University, DePaul University, the University of Chicago and public universities in Illinois are all taking steps to offer a blend of in-person and remote coursework. Though many decisions aren’t finalized, enhanced cleaning, contract tracing and access to testing are common features across campuses.

At Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus, creating enough room for students to sit in classes, grab food from dining halls and socialize with peers could be particularly challenging given its record enrollment of more than 51,000 students last year. An email sent to students Thursday laid out the plans for fall, saying “we will resume on-campus instruction for the Fall 2020 semester in a manner modified to address the ongoing pandemic concerns.”

Read more here.

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“In his superintendent report at the June 16 Board meeting, Dr. Harris shared Barrington 220’s preliminary Roadmap to Reopening for the 2020-21 school year. The district is preparing educational plans based on Restore Illinoiswhich is a five-phase reopening plan. The district intends to finalize detailed guidelines for each plan next month. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is possible the district will be in several of these phases over the course of the 2020-21 school year. The state of Illinois is currently in Phase 3.

  • PHASE 1 (Rapid spread): All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020. Essential staff on site as necessary.
  • PHASE 2 (Flattening): All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020. Essential staff on site as necessary.
  • PHASE 3 (Recovery):
    -10 people or less in a designated space

    -All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020.
    -Essential staff on site as necessary
    -Some groups (such as special education programs) on site
    -Staff members on site as necessary
    -Follow IHSA and IESA guidelines for athletics
  • PHASE 4 (Revitalization):
    -50 people or less in a designated space
    -All students return to school with public health guidelines in place,

OR

-Grades PK-6 return every day and grades 7-12 return on a rotational schedule
-Plan Distance Learning for some students
-Follow IHSA and IESA guidelines for athletics
-All staff members on site

  • PHASE 5 ( Restored): Return to “normal” with new public health guidelines in place

The district expects the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) to release guidelines soon for the reopening of schools in the fall. In addition, Barrington 220 has created a committee made up of school administrators, teachers and support staff, which is meeting over the summer to review reopening plans. School administrators are also meeting with parents over the summer to gain their feedback.” 

Click here to listen to Dr. Harris explain Barrington 220’s preliminary Roadmap to Reopening at the Board meeting.

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Emmie Phillips, from left, Grace Hayes, Natalie Nelson are pictured June 7, 2020 in Barrington as they collected food and cash that was to be donated to a Chicago organization and distributed to families of Chicago Public Schools children who missed getting meals after looting ravaged some communities. – Original Credit: Emily Young (Emily Young / HANDOUT)

The Barrington area community surprised Natalie Nelson with how much it stepped up on Sunday to provide meals for Chicago Public Schools students who may need them.

In just four hours, Nelson and two fellow 2016 Barrington High School graduates collected $1,125 in cash to buy fresh and non-perishable food to deliver to Port Ministries in Chicago. The food is to be distributed to the families of children who temporarily lost their free meals through CPS, Nelson said.

“We’re over the moon,” said Nelson, who now lives in Fox River Grove. “I did not expect to have this much support. The community really came together. They provided so many donations in food and cash. It was great to see.”

The passersby and visitors to College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors, the downtown Barrington site where the food was collected, were very supportive, said Emmie Phillips, of Barrington Hills.

Read more here.

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