Community Health: COVID-19

We are grateful to have been on-campus for the 2020-21 school year and are still accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year.
Connect with admissions to learn more.

Bennett Day School is committed to providing its community with the information and resources they need to navigate and understand the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will update this page regularly as we receive updates and new information on the status of COVID-19. It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like COVID-19 is primarily a task for public health agencies; we will rely on their expertise, recommendations, and directives in all of our responses.

Please see below for Bennett Day School updates and helpful resources. 

Our Saliva Surveillance Program:

Bennett’s COVID-19 saliva surveillance program has several goals, including:

  • Reducing school closures and quarantines to allow for as much in-person programming as possible
  • Identifying potential COVID-19 cases in the school population early, reducing transmission
  • Driving down overall rates in our community by alerting those who may need to quarantine before they are symptomatic
  • Providing a personal and family benefit for participants of knowing their potential COVID-19 status at the time of submission

Weekly saliva surveillance allows Bennett to more accurately assess the health of our school population. This provides an extra layer of reassurance for offering in-person programs in addition to the many other mitigation measures our school has in place that make the risk of on-campus transmission low (e.g. a best-in-class approach to ventilation with separate ventilation provided to every classroom; masks required; and more).

We require additional diagnostic testing under our infectious disease protocols when appropriate as part of our layered approach to health and safety.

Bennett Day School Updates:

August 10: School Planning Update

View our August 10 School Planning Update for more information on:

  • Community Health Response Team
  • Program Updates
    • Intake Conferences
    • Assessment and Goal Setting
    • Faculty Absences and Substitute Teacher Criteria
    • Our Mission, Values, and Return to School
  • Auxiliary Programming
  • Bennett Labs Programming


July 20: School Planning Update

View our July 20 School Planning Update for more information on:

  • Back to School Feedback and Community Health Return to School Updates (CHRT)
  • School-Year Program
  • Summer Program Update
June 29: School Planning Update

View our June 29 School Planning Update for more information on:

  • Commitment to All Bennett Families and our New Tuition Protection Program
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force 
  • Summer Programs & More: (i) Bennett Live; (ii) Camp At Home (iii) Academic Review
  • Latest Return to Campus Plans
June 8: School Planning Update

View our June 8 School Planning Update for more information on:

  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion 
  • Return to Campus Task Force and Plans
  • Community Engagement and Program Task Forces
May 18: School Planning Update

View our May 18 School Planning Update for more information on:

  • Distance Learning/At-Home Activities 
  • Experts Supporting Our Bennett Community
  • School Planning Tools from Independent Schools Assoc. of the Central States
  • Our Scenario Planning and Considerations for Fall 2020
April 9: Distance Learning Plans through June 12

Dear Bennett Community,

Read on for an important update:

  • Important: Expect and Plan for Distance Learning through Friday, June 12. Kate and Cameron shared on a livestream address on Tuesday, April 7, with the Bennett Day Community that we are planning for Distance Learning to continue through the remainder of the academic school year.
  • Seventeen other states have already made this decision (it was eleven over the prior weekend, fifteen as of 48 hours ago, and now seventeen as of today). We believe we should be planning this will be the case in Illinois soon too based on current events and guidance we have received from our CDC/CDPH public health advisor. Planning along these lines can only help us all make the most of these unreal times, together. If public health officials declare it is safe to return to physical school earlier than June 12, we will be at the ready to evaluate that. But we must plan accordingly, together, as best we can.
  • Thank you all for your adaptability and care for all the members of our Bennett community, and for our faculty and families for working together to quickly create and enhance our distance learning program together. Our peer schools look to us weekly for guidance for their own communities, and we are proud.
  • We are adding numerous exciting additional live and recorded programming elements that students can enjoy and benefit from with more details for families in the summary notes on virtual camp the week of April 13, homework club, social club, summer camp options starting right away on June 15, and more with a detailed week-by-week schedule of what to expect with your classroom teachers as well.


Thank you once again for reading this important message dedicated to our current plans together.


Kate and Cameron

April 7: Community Health Update: Distance Learning Extended through June 12

Dear Bennett Day Community,

On April 7 at 3 pm, our Principal, Kate Cicchelli, and CEO, Cameron Smith, addressed the Bennett Day Community with updates to our distance learning program and additional offerings for our families. See the highlights below.

Distance Learning will continue through June 12. Fifteen states have already announced the same including Virgina, Michigan, Indiana, Washington, and more. We have consulted closely with our CDC/CDPH public health advisor to reach this decision. Just as we announced and moved to distance learning after March 13, now a month ahead of many other schools, we have made this latest decision with the fullest information possible about what we know and what many of us likely expected already. Learning continues, albeit in a different form, and for us all. No one is ‘behind’, we are all in the same place growing and adapting together.

Thank you all for embodying our values, particularly those for Adaptability and Citizenship. We are all in this together, and we strive to provide our families with distance learning programming and auxiliary resources that set the bar high among our peer independent schools who continue to look to Bennett for guidance and advice that we do share with them in this time of need too. 

Many more Bennett programs for students and families start April 13 as well, please see below.  

Bennett Camp will start right away on June 15 with virtual/in-person options planned too.

One of our next livestreams in the coming weeks will address our plans in this new world for this fall and the various operational adjustments and contingency plans in a return-to-physical-school setting with the plans around distance learning if and when needed. 

Summary of remarks from Kate and Cameron via the Livestream on 4/7:

The Bennett Community has embodied our values by continuing to support part-time staff, vendors, and each other. Families have and continue to donate to care for one another in the Friends of Bennett Day 501c3 program, made PPE for local healthcare groups and our own families, and are continuing to socialize on

Additional information about our Timeline:

Thurs, 4/9

  • School Counselors will be holding a how to speak to your child about this current conversation on 4/9 at 12:00 on the Bennett Youtube Channel
  • Email (Jen or Yvonne) for additional resources.

Mon, 4/13 – Fri, 4/17

  • Virtual Spring Break Camp will run from 4/13 – 4/17 and is available to all Bennett students and families at no cost; it can be downloaded and run without screens too.
  • Bennett Live will begin via our Facebook page and videos will be reposted to YouTube. Keep an eye out for some familiar faces from afar! 

Mon, 4/20

  • Distance learning will start again on 4/20 (Teacher professional development day has been canceled for that day and we will resume academic programming instead that day).  If you already have plans for that day, you are absolutely excused that day.
  • Virtual In-take conferences will be scheduled with families the week of 4/20.
  • Homework & Social Clubs will begin the week of 4/20 to supplement our distance learning programs. This will be live small group support from our auxiliary team during the typical school day for academic support in math, literacy, and more.  There will also be live Social Clubs during afternoons and after the school day with the auxiliary team.

Mon, 4/27

  • One-on-one meetings with teachers and students begin the week of 4/27 and those will occur weekly after the preceding week of virtual in-take conferences the week of 4/20.

Additional Notes

  • Bennett is following FBI guidelines to protect students on Zoom. Teachers will ‘lock’ the room ten minutes after live learning begins. Other measures occur behind the scenes. 
  • Any Trimester 3 fees for AfterCare, Bennett & Beyond, etc. will be canceled/refunded.
  • Administrators are planning for the 2020 school year to ensure our students are protected and continuing their education. This includes physical building adjustments, remote learning planning, and a tiered response system depending on the needs.

Thank you for the outpouring of support and input as we have adapted and built a leading distance learning programming quickly and intentionally with dedicated faculty and families!



Kate and Cameron

April 6: Community Health Updates

Bennett Community Updates:

Over the past week, anonymous and very generous donations totaling $10,000 have been made to Friends of Bennett Day School (FoBDS) to financially assist our Bennett Day Families in need. It is with this generous spirit that FoBDS would like to encourage our entire community to work together and match the donation that has been given! During these uncertain and difficult times, we are all in this together. None of us is alone. Please consider how you may financially help and go here to give. Our BDS Community is stronger together during these challenging times. 

Helpful Resources:

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

April 2: Community Health Updates

Bennett Community Updates:

Helpful Resources:

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

March 31: Community Health Update: Distance Learning Through April 30

Dear Bennett Community,

In alignment with Governor Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order through April 30 for the State of Illinois, Bennett Day School will continue school via Distance Learning through that date.

Our faculty will continue to deliver exceptional Phase Three programming for all students, PreK-9th grade, and the Ed Team are already at work building distance learning assessment and documentation requirements, in alignment with our peer schools and ISBE Remote Learning Recommendations.

In the interim, live and recorded learning are underway, and your teachers are busy preparing new and dynamic opportunities for all of our students each day.

Stay safe and well,
Kate and Cameron

March 30: Community Health Updates

Announcements and Reminders

  • Distance Learning continues through at least April 20 while our physical building is not open.
  • A BDS Distance Learning tile is in Blackbaud on your ‘Resources’ page.
  • Submit your Distance Learning questions and feedback here. Make sure it gets submitted here and not in an email; this is the place to help us adapt and grow together, thank you.
  • Programming will be provided over the April Break (April 13-17) with Virtual Bennett Day Camp.

Bennett Community Updates:

  • Get ready for Virtual Spring Break Camp April 13-17! Camp will include live Morning Meetings with the Auxiliary team, off-screen independent activities for students, and even some games for the whole family. Login instructions will be in next week’s Bennett Bulletin. 
  • Bennett Day School has been partnering with Center on Halsted on several initiatives since 2018. Family Playdates, Annual Friendship Days, and Fall Festivals have contributed to a strong relationship between our two communities. (Click here to read about intergenerational engagement between Town Hall Residents and Bennett students.) Center on Halsted needs our help now to provide meals for Town Hall Residents and the larger senior community. Donate to Center on Halsted here or drop food off in their lobby M-F from 9:00AM-6:00PM.
  • Our community is collecting and donating Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) for healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. This is something you can help with from your home. You can donate or sew facemasks (here is a video from Bennett parent, Erica Smith!); you can even make or 3D print a faceshield if motivated. There are plenty of ways to help. 
  • You can support the Teacher Appreciation Fund here or our families via Friends of Bennett Day here.

Helpful Resources:

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

March 26: Community Health Updates

Action Items:

Practice the Social Distancing Protocols from Mayor Lightfoot:

  • Only go out of the house for essentials (food, prescriptions, walk the dog)
  • Maintain a six foot separation between you and others when outside or in groceries/pharmacies
  • Exercise outdoors should for “brief respite, not 5Ks”
    • Playgrounds are closed
    • Stay close to home

Announcements and Reminders

  • Distance Learning continues through at least April 20 while our physical building is not open.
  • A BDS Distance Learning tile is in Blackbaud on your ‘Resources’ page.
  • Here is the page to submit your Distance Learning questions and feedback. Make sure it gets submitted here and not buried in email, this is the place to help us adapt and grow together, thank you.
  • Programming will be provided over the break week of April 13 with Virtual Bennett Day Camp.

Bennett Community Updates:

  • Bennett Labs: Osmo Kaleidoscope, which was co-designed by teachers and students at Bennett Day School, has been downloaded and played this past week by 24,000 children and families everywhere. On March 17, we coordinated with Osmo for the limited release of our app FREE for families until April 15. If you have an Osmo base at home, download our Osmo Kaleidoscope app FREE today.
  • Get ready for Virtual Spring Break Camp April 13-17! Camp will include live Morning Meetings with the Auxiliary team, off-screen independent activities for students, and even some games for the whole family. Login instructions will be in next week’s Bennett Bulletin. 
  • Our community is collecting and donating Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) for healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. This is something you can help with from your home. You can donate or sew facemasks (here is a video from Bennett parent, Erica Smith!); you can even make or 3D print a faceshield if motivated. There are plenty of ways to help. 
  • You can support the Teacher Appreciation Fund here or our families via Friends of Bennett Day here.

Helpful Resources:

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

March 24: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Crisis with Dr. Zarse

The content below was originally shared here.

The DuPage Regional Office of Education (ROE) and Glen Ellyn School District 41 invites everyone across our community to join us for an evening with Dr. Nancy Zarse of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Zarse is an expert in the field of crisis and resilience and has worked on very high profile cases both nationally and internationally.

Through a series of ongoing live-streamed events, Dr. Zarse will help our communities learn how to manage crisis in a healthy and constructive way. Together, we will learn how to focus on those things in our life that are in our control and how to harness the power of community to help us all thrive in the coming weeks.

The first live stream event will be on March 25, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

You can access the live stream and video archive HERE.

March 23: Community Health Updates

Important Announcements:

  • Distance Learning continues through at least April 20th while our physical building is not open.
  • A BDS Distance Learning tile has been added to Blackbaud on your ‘Resources’ page. Please visit for important tools and information.

Bennett Community Updates:

  • We shared in our prior Bulletin that Bennett faculty, full and part-time, continue to receive regular pay as if our building were open and while they are working remotely. Some families have asked if we would be able to reimburse you for Ruca meals that are not currently being served to you. We have diverted any dollars in our general budget to ensure our Bennett faculty are taken care of and working during this time; thank you for your understanding as we look to prop up our community in the ways we can.
  • Our Osmo Kaleidoscope app – which is free to download until March 31st and designed for PreK-4th grade hands-on explorations – is featured in the media and bringing joy to children and families everywhere. USA Today highlighted Osmo Kaleidoscope on their list of 18 Free Educational Resources at #10 for Digital Art and PopSugar (Family) included Osmo Kaleidoscope at #29 of 45 Free Educational Websites and Apps.

Helpful Resources:

  • Volumes Bookstore is offering free shipping and home delivery!
  • Dining at a Distance  Use this to find out what restaurants in the Chicago area are open for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery.

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

March 21: Community Health Update: Livestream on March 24 at 9:00 AM

Dear Bennett Day Community,

Our Community Health Response Team will be hosting a livestream on Tuesday, March 24th at 9:00 AM. A link to the livestream will be sent on Monday.

Kate and Cameron

March 19: Community Health Update: Extended Distance Learning

Dear Bennett Day Community,

In alignment with Mayor Lightfoot’s announcement this evening regarding the extended closure of Chicago Public Schools, Bennett Day School will be continuing school via Distance Learning through at least April 20. Our physical school building will remain closed during this period. We will be in touch Friday with details about a livestream meeting with Kate and Cameron, on behalf of the Community Health Response Team, to be scheduled for early next week.

We are already learning from our first two days of digital teaching and instruction, and we are adapting the Distance Learning program to improve it daily. We appreciate your patience and kindness and consider ourselves lucky to be a part of this incredible school community during this unprecedented time.

We urge you all to practice social distancing and self care and compassion every day. 

As Mayor Lightfoot said, we will get through this because we can and we must.


Kate and Cameron

March 19: Community Health Updates

Bennett Community Updates

  • All Bennett faculty, full time and part-time, are continuing to receive the salary/hourly pay they would have normally received if the building was open. 
  • We are working closely with our primary partners, Ruca (food service) and CityWide (janitorial services) to make sure their regular Bennett staff are currently continuing to receive pay as if we were open. We are also working with other third-party providers to provide what support we can and where possible find ways to continue providing services remotely.  
  • All teaching and administrative faculty are running Internet speed checks, and in the event that increased bandwidth will support distance work and learning, the school is providing a stipend to defray the additional cost.
  • Division Directors have regularly scheduled team and individual meetings with teachers.

Have comments or feedback on how distance learning is going? Please share those thoughts with your Division Directors.

Supporting Bennett Day Faculty

Many of you have reached out to ask about how you can help provide additional support to teachers, including our wonderful AfterCare team. While absolutely not required, a great way to do that would be to make a gift to the Family Association’s Teacher Appreciation Fund.

All gifts made starting March 18th will go to Bennett Day faculty, including the Ruca food on-site team, AfterCare teachers, classroom and specialist teachers, officers (who are still making regular sweeps of school), etc. Again, this is not an ask, this is a response to those of you reaching out asking for ways you can financially support the faculty and staff. To make a contribution, click here.

Supporting Bennett Day Families

Additionally, we have had parents/guardians ask how they can support our community of families. You are already showing your capacity for generosity in the many digital resources you have shared. Another way you can support families is to visit the Friends of Bennett Day website, our 501c3 organization that supports our Bennett Grant pool each year.

Visit the Invest In Inclusion page which describes the ways by which you can contribute to Friends of Bennett Day including making a tax-deductible charitable gift. These dollars will support families who will most certainly be impacted by the disruptions to work and daily life we are now confronting. Again, this is not an ask, this is a response to those of you asking for ways to support our family community.

For more information about Friends of Bennett Day, you can reach Interim FoBDS Executive Director and Bennett parent, Marrianne Gruver, by email at

Facilities Updates:

We continue to consult with an expert formerly with the CDC and the Chicago Department of Health as a Medical Director to inform our practices for community health and our facilities. We are thankful to have accessed such resources through our lab school partnership with Northwestern University.

Cleaning Schedule:

  • We are doing a deep “terminal” cleaning of the building, floor-by-floor. This includes all classrooms, bathrooms, public spaces and floors and rugs. This will be completed soon.
  • The HVAC/filter system is being deep-cleaned during this time.
  • We will continue to do building maintenance while we are closed. We expect most of this work to be completed by our regular staff. Should we need any outside vendors in the building for maintenance work, we are following all recommendations on social distancing, cleaning and hand-washing. Planned work includes items like painting and other items that are difficult to complete while the building is occupied.
  • Electrostatic disinfectant treatment will take place after a final cleaning session and several days prior to the building reopening.

Helpful Resources:

Do you have Osmo at Home? To make learning fun, the team at Bennett Labs has worked with our friends at Osmo to make the Osmo Kaleidoscope app available for FREE download until March 31st.

This is a creative Osmo app to learn about symmetry that works with everyday objects at home! Read our latest blog post on how you can use Osmo Kaleidoscope for fun indoor explorations.

Connect With Us Virtually

Please click this link if you want to attend a Virtual Info Session or schedule a video/phone call with us, thanks!

March 12: Community Health Update: Tier Three

Dear Bennett Day Community,

Our first priority at Bennett Day is the safety and well-being of our children, faculty, and families. In trying times such as these, it is essential that we make decisions with as much information and expert advice and guidance as possible. To be clear, as of today we have no known cases of COVID-19 in our school community.

We are following the unfolding crises in those cities, states, and countries that are most impacted by the spread of the virus, as well as those cities that are most effectively slowing the spread. We are also working with medical and public health professionals, our peer schools, and the recommendations of the Illinois and Cook County Health Departments in determining the appropriate next steps for our school and community. And we are doing so now with the oft-cited abundance of caution.

With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to initiate Tier 3 protocols and close Bennett Day School effective end-of-day (6:00pm) on Friday, March 13. To be clear, we will be open on Friday, March 13. We currently plan then to be closed after that through Tuesday, March 31 and to open again on Wednesday, April 1. This re-opening date may change and we will certainly update you regularly in advance.

This decision comes in response to the rapid pace of this situation and is intended to protect the health and well-being of our extended community. Again, we have no known cases of COVID-19 in our community; this decision is made with a focus on mitigating the spread of the virus and to keep everyone safe. It is the school’s steadfast view that even just one child, parent, grandparent, teacher, or administrator in harm’s way is now too many.

Important information you need to know in preparation for this school closing:


  • Teachers will inform students about the closure on Friday morning during Morning Meeting/Advisory; please keep an eye out for an email from your Division Directors, in partnership with our counselors, for a preview of the language we’ll use in classrooms.
  • At the end of day on Friday, March 13, students will be leaving with materials to use during the school closing as part of Distance Learning.
  • If you choose to keep your child home on Friday, you can come to school between 3:30 – 6:00pm to pick up your child’s materials.
  • In the case that you determine to keep your child home tomorrow, please submit the absence form and list Tier 3 as your reason, and this will be an excused absence.

Auxiliary Programs

  • All Auxiliary programming will not be in session while school is closed to students. No accounts will be charged for missed or canceled classes.

Distance Learning

  • Distance Learning will begin next week; Division Directors will be in touch soon with more information.

Building & Timeline

  • The building will be open to faculty and administrators on next Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17.
  • As of Wednesday, March 18, the building will be closed and after that will undergo a precautionary “terminal” cleaning which is a method used in healthcare environments to control the spread of infections. This protocol was recommended by our school public health consultant to complete prior to reopening the building as well.
  • We will be closed through Tuesday, March 31, and are currently planning to open on Wednesday, April 1. This date may change and we will update you regularly via email and our Community Health page now live on the school website. You can also reach our Community Health Response team via email here.

End of School 

  • We are extending the end of the school year from Wednesday, June 10 to Friday, June 12. We will not be extending the school year beyond that date.

We want you to know that the weight of this decision is felt deeply here at school. We understand that this will have an impact on families and we will do everything in our power to support you and your children during this difficult time.

COVID-19 is an equal opportunity virus; it knows no boundaries and is without malice. This is a global pandemic that impacts us all. Now more than ever, it is incumbent upon us to lead in our community, to act towards one another and those around us with care and compassion, and to hold ourselves to the highest standard of social responsibility.

Be good to yourselves and one another and keep an eye out for further communication from your child(ren)’s Division Directors.

Kate and Cameron

March 12: Family Association Update

Dear Bennett Day Community,

As you are aware, Bennett Day School is planning to move to Tier 2 precautions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In accordance with the Tier 2 precautions and possibility of implementing Tier 3 precautions in the weeks to follow, we are postponing the Spring Social scheduled for Saturday March 28.  
We are working with Nacional 27 to reschedule this event for the start of the school year, which will be a great opportunity to meet new families and transition back into the school year.

If you have already RSVP’ed through Jackrabbit, please know that you have NOT been charged, and we will just cancel the information in the system.

Thank you for understanding and more details will follow.

Erica Smith and Jen VanKlompenberg

Spring Social Chairs
March 11: Auxiliary Program Update

Dear Bennett Day Community,

Thank you all for your understanding as we finalize the details for how the new level of community health recommendations will impact Auxiliary programs. Please see below for an explanation of how AfterCare and your child’s Bennett & Beyonds may be impacted starting Monday, March 16. Auxiliary programming happening this week (March 11-13) will not be impacted.

To accommodate the additional students in AfterCare, we will be adding additional rooms and getting support from the BDS teaching faculty. We will not exceed our 10:1 student ratio and are preparing a number of activities and projects to keep our students engaged.

We will not charge any Trimester 3 accounts until April 6th at the earliest. We will credit families for any canceled classes. We will credit families for differences in cost between Bennett & Beyonds and AfterCare classes. We appreciate your patience as we update the accounts.

For each Bennett & Beyond class that is canceled, please select one of the following options and email to update your registration.

  1. Select a replacement class
  2. Enroll in AfterCare
  3. Pickup at end of school day

Canceled classes: Brooklyn Boulders
Modified classes:

  • Soccer – Practices will continue uninterrupted with Coach Milbrook in place of Coach Mike.
  • Sew Crafty – Sew Crafty will not be able to run class. Students will be able to participate in a Textiles Class run by the Auxiliary Staff.

Alternative classes (grade dependent): Drones, Textiles, Bennett Ballers

Canceled classes: None
Modified classes: Neighborhood Explorers – we will limit our destinations to walking tours of the neighborhood. We will not interact with the businesses. Students will wash hands prior to exiting the building and upon reentry.

Canceled classes: Altitude Jump, Swim, Design Dance, CircEsteem
Modified classes: Sew Crafty – Sew Crafty will not be able to run class. Students will be able to participate in a Textiles Class run by the Auxiliary Staff.
Alternative classes (grade dependent):

  • PK/JK: Bennett Ballers, Textiles, or AfterCare.
  • SK-5th: Additional classes may become available.
  • Due to the extended day AfterCare, students have the ability to participate in Open Art, Open TES, and/or Open Gym. During this time they would have access to materials and guidance from the AfterCare Leaders.

Canceled classes: Fencing
Modified classes: None
Alternative classes (grade dependent): Track, Songwriter’s Club, Coding, Children’s Book Week

Canceled classes: None
Modified classes: Chess – Chess will continue with support from BDS Faculty and the AfterCare Leaders.

Thank you for your continued support of the Auxiliary Programs. Our goal is to continue to run safe and engaging programs for our students.

The Auxiliary Team

March 11: Community Health Update: Tier Two

Greetings Bennett Day Community,

In response to the Health Department’s transition from containment to mitigation regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are practicing an abundance of caution in launching our Tier Two protocols effective Monday, March 16. These steps will help to prevent the spread of the virus in our immediate and local community. Important action items are listed at the end of this email.

Tier Two Protocols – Effective March 16, 2020

Tier Two protocols are focused on disrupting the spread of the virus and include the Tier One Protocols we shared with you earlier as well as the following:

  • Closing the building to all non-essential third party providers and outside visitors.
    • Therapeutic (speech, reading, OT) services for students will continue uninterrupted
    • The Auxiliary team is preparing alternative programming for Bennett and Beyond classes impacted by these protocols
  • All large-group events hosted in the building will be canceled; this includes upcoming FA meetings, all-school student meetings in excess of 25 students, and suspension of all third-party use of the facilities on evenings and weekends.
    • The FA meeting for March 18 will be live-streamed and will not be in-person
    • No field trips off campus other than walking field trips in the area that do not include exposure to large groups or heavily trafficked areas
  • Ongoing vigilance regarding illnesses and absences.
    • Students/faculty demonstrating signs of flu and/or COVID-19-type symptoms will be sent home; as in any case where a child or adult is demonstrating extreme physical distress, they would be directed to Rush/Lurie/Northwestern at the discretion of the nurse and parent/guardian.
    • Students/faculty waiting for pick up will remain in the Nurse’s Office in the curtained area; this area will receive Tier Two cleaning and disinfection after any use.
  • We ask all community members to have heightened awareness of any symptoms following travel to/from/around CDC/WHO-identified COVID-19 high risk areas and to follow government issued guidelines.
  • Interpersonal greetings are a priority, but no hand shakes and no hugs; waves, foot bumps/taps and jazz hands are permitted.
  • The Community Health Response (CHR) Team at Bennett will be the point of contact for all related updates and useful information for families. 

Bennett Day School will not screen students or staff in an attempt to identify COVID-19. That is the work of the Health Department and medical professionals to whom we direct these efforts.

We will be vigilant in monitoring student/faculty illness and put in place measures to ensure student participation in school continues in the event that absences related to illness or self-quarantine extend beyond five days of school.

Preparation for Tier Three Protocols 

In the event that the city or we implement mitigation measures that require we close school beyond five days in our Tier Three (of Three) protocols, we will have distance learning opportunities for students PreK-9th grade ready to go so that student learning continues. If school closings occur, and barring other unforeseen circumstances, we plan to have a minimum of one school day between the announced closing and the start date that we would be closed in order to ensure that all students and faculty have the appropriate materials and resources to engage in distance learning.  

To that end, we have linked a Technology Survey here that every family MUST complete for all students in preparation for that potential closure. Please complete the survey today. Completing this survey will ensure uninterrupted engagement for all students.

While we remain focused on continuing to deliver an exceptional program to all students each day here in school, we are over-preparing. We have a plan that we hope we won’t need to use. We encourage you to do the same; you should make your own plan in the event of an extended school closing that you hopefully won’t need. 

Student, faculty and family health and safety are our top priority. We appreciate your partnership and support as we move forward together on this uncharted path. 



Feb 28: Community Health Update: Tier One

Dear Bennett Day Families,

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. We wanted to share with you some of the steps our school is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus, and plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus in our community. These measures are taken out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to be thoughtful about the process of prevention in a manner that allows for an ideal learning environment. 

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments, in partnership with the Cook County Department of Health, CDC and WHO, and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. 

Our Community Health Response Team, including myself, Kristin Lewicki, Kei Milbrook, Jerry Nardella, and Sarah Skvara, is planning ahead should the situation change and we will communicate any changes affirmatively if and when appropriate. 

The following measures are already in place to prevent the transmission of seasonal flu and other illnesses:

  • Nurse Lewicki is visiting all classrooms to review proper handwashing and hygiene procedures
  • Mr. Walker, our School Maintenance Technician keeps all classrooms and bathrooms supplied with soap, paper towels, and additional cleaning supplies for daily maintenance and upkeep, particularly in high use areas and surfaces
  • Ms. Milbrook works closely with our night cleaning crew to ensure all door handles, bathrooms, faucets and other high use surfaces receive sanitizing cleaning, including the use of hospital-grade Lysol. This occurs nightly, while a weekend “deep clean,” including the use of an electrostatic disinfectant application, is done at the end of each week.
  • We have requested that any faculty with symptoms of illness stay home until those symptoms pass

We ask you to partner with us to minimize the spread of infectious illness and keep our community healthy:

  • Practice great hygiene – remind your child to wash their hands thoroughly and to cover up coughs/sneezes in their elbows or on a tissue
  • Keep sick kiddos home!  
  • Communicate to your teachers and Nurse Lewicki in the event that your child is home sick

While we all do our part here, it is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. We will rely on their expertise, recommendations, and directives in all of our responses. 

We are grateful for the strength of our community, and your continued support and partnership in our school life.


Excerpted from CDC’s “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.”

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

Click here to view the CDC’s list of COVID-19 symptoms.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.

You can also visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing. See Test for Past Infection for more information.

How can I protect myself?

Visit the How to Protect Yourself & Others page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature and follow CDC guidance if you have symptoms.

What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

If you are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, you should:

  • Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.
  • Take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions.
  • Keep these items on hand and use them when venturing out: a cloth face covering, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.
  • If possible, avoid others who are not wearing cloth face coverings or ask others around you to wear cloth face coverings.
  • Delay or cancel a visit if you or your visitors have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Anyone who has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should stay home and monitor for symptoms.
  • Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines.
  • Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying medical condition because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care.

Preventing Illness:

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19), these everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid Close Contact

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor your health

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.