Glenview/Northbrook Coronavirus Task Force Wins IAPD Intergovernmental Award

On March 3, 2020, just 10 days before the statewide shutdown the Glenview/Northbrook Coronavirus Task Force was created in order share information and resources to effectively respond to Coronavirus in Northbrook and Glenview. The task force consisted of the following members: Village of Glenview, Village of Northbrook, Northfield Township, Glenview Park District, Northbrook Park District, Northbrook School District 27, Northbrook School District 28, Northbrook/Glenview School District 30, West Northfield School District 31, Glenview Public School District 34, Glenbrook High School District 225, Glenview Public Library, Northbrook Public Library, Glenview and Northbrook Chamber of Commerce. A website was created in order to share communication, resources and FAQ’s to the community

Shortly after the task force was created, Jesse Peterson Hall, President of Glenbrook Hospital joined to provide updates such as hospital bed availability and local positivity rates, create employer specific COVID-19 testing and the task force was able to send out mass communication efforts from NorthShore University HealthSystem to schools, faith-based organizations and local businesses in addition to hosting community based webinars.

This small but mighty group of individuals met weekly through June 2020 and has met every other week virtually since June 2020 to provide facility closures or updates, discuss state mitigations, create awareness of the importance of shopping and supporting local businesses during the pandemic, donate/share PPE supplies, create mass vaccination sites for the public and send out public communications. Each weekly message is translated into Spanish, Korean and Mongolian to be as inclusive as possible. As communications shifted from crisis mode to the “new normal” the task force added a good news section to weekly messaging highlighting those giving back, appreciation to local essential workers or physically distanced event.

With the beginning of 2021 and COVID-19 cases still surging in the state, Glenview Park District was approached by State Senator Laura Fine, State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Robyn Gabel, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, Congressman Brad Schneider and Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky to open a COVID-19 testing location in a district facility in collaboration with Northshore Clinical Labs. The Park District knew this was a community need and was consistent with the task force mission. The site opened January 5, 2021 at Flick Park and on average sees over 600 patients weekly from the area and is continuing testing through December 31, 2021.

Early February 2021, The Villages of Glenview and Northbrook coordinated with Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) Division 3 to operate a local COVID-19 vaccination site at New Trier’s High School campus through the Cook County Department of Public Health. MABAS Division 3 is a partnership of 17 north/northwest suburban fire departments organized to provide aid, resources and training to the area. The entire site would run from volunteers from local municipalities, schools and park district staff. Paramedics in MABAS Division 3 would be trained to administer vaccines. Vaccinations were limited to municipal employees from villages, schools, park districts, and libraries. During a time that everyone needed a vaccine, our task force was able to coordinate vaccines for staff so we could continue providing to our community. The Glenview Park District provided multiple volunteers for this effort and was able to vaccinate over 125 staff members unable to find vaccine appointments elsewhere. Because of the success of a staff vaccine location, The Village of Glenview and Glenview Park District worked collaboratively to host six vaccine clinics for Glenview residents at the Park District’s Park Center facility and vaccinated over 1,500 residents. These clinics were provided solely with volunteers from Glenview Park District, Village of Glenview and Glenview Public Library. At the same time, we saw a high demand in the area to vaccinate Glenbrook High School District 225 staff and students. The Glenview Park District provided staff volunteers to help with their clinics located at the high school. Because Glenbrook High School and Glenview Park District were both operating mass vaccination sites in town, the Park District worked alongside the high school to share event directional signage, computers/copiers for registration, event barricades, and wheelchairs to save costs.

Overall, the Glenview/Northbrook Coronavirus Task Force has proven to be beneficial to schools, villages, libraries and park districts that a post-coronavirus group was formed to work collaboratively on other communitywide events and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in our respective areas.  Throughout this cooperative effort, members of the task force have come to realize that it truly takes a village, or in this case, two villages, to effectively navigate through a pandemic.

Camp REC Team Wins IAPD Partnership Award

The Glenview Park District is pleased to announce the winning of the IAPD Partnership award alongside Wesley Child Care Center, Glenview School District 34, Glenview Park Foundation, Glenview Public Library and Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook for the collaboration and partnership on Camp REC, which was a school-aged program for self-directed E-Learners and provided recreational opportunities during this program at various locations throughout Glenview.

The Camp REC program was created to accommodate any adaptive phase that the Glenview Schools needed during the COVID pandemic, complimenting their different hybrid learning approaches for students 5 to 14 years of age. Camp REC was established on August 31, 2020 and ran until April 1, 2021. Children were isolated in small group “pods” of 15 at the Glenview Public Library, Glenview Park District fieldhouses, Swain Nelson building, Wagner Farm, The Grove, and at Park Center. This program provided campers with Recreational activities, Enrichment and a sense of Community.  Camp REC fulfilled the needs for working parents who did not have daily care for their students when school was in remote learning, and provided hot/cold lunch and snacks options for all campers. Wesley Child Care Center provided experienced and qualified leaders to create a safe and enriching environment for children, navigating the myriad of virtual learning classrooms and requirements for each individual student and providing structured play through recreational activities.

When the Glenview schools were fully remote, there were over 120 participants in this program with both half day and full day options.  As the Glenview schools evolved into hybrid learning, Wesley Child Care Center and the Glenview Park District worked with School District 34 to secure busing routes to and from pod locations and schools so that working parents could continue to receive full support. Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook helped collect necessary financial records to assess and administer qualifying scholarship amounts that were generously provided to community members in need. Due to the overwhelming need in the community for financial assistance for Camp REC, the Glenview Park Foundation expanded its support for the Glenview Park District’s Leisureship Fund, providing $57,200 in scholarships for families to participate in learning and recreational opportunities they otherwise could not afford. The Foundation typically donates 10% of net operating income annually, capped at $10,000, to the Leisureship Fund; however, the Foundation Board voted to increase contributions to support Camp REC participants during the pandemic.

Another great collaboration between the Glenview Park District and Wesley Child Care Center was to provide Camp REC before and after care options in addition to a “School’s Off” camp experience during Winter and Spring Breaks.

Many of the students at Camp REC had parents who were essential workers (doctors, hospital administrators, grocery store workers, etc.). This program was able to provide valuable childcare needs, allowing these parents to continue to serve the community during the COVD crisis. Camp REC provided a relief for parents, giving them time during the day to focus on work while their children learned and recreated in a safe space.

Programming during a pandemic provided its own set of unique challenges, but the Camp REC staff made daily accommodations to make sure this program maintained a safe, clean and fun environment with physically spaced desks, table dividers, and continuous cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.

As the community transitions into a new school year, the collaboration between Wesley Child Care Center and the Glenview Park District will continue with the evolution of Camp REC: School’s Off programing in the 2021-2022 school year, where yet again resources and staff will be combined for another amazing community programming opportunity!