June 1, 2021 -- This news item pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic was originally posted in March 2020. For the latest information, visit cityhpil.com/covid-19. Use the links below for the latest updates from the governments serving the residents of Highland Park.
Highland Park Leaders Encourage COVID-19 Prevention Strategies
Face Coverings, Social Distancing Urged to Limit the Spread of COVID-19
August 7, 2020 -- The City of Highland Park and local government entities remind all residents and visitors to Highland Park to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Case counts are rising. Highland Park officials are working to mitigate the spread of the virus by urging all community members to follow public health guidance to avoid the implementation of more restrictive mitigation strategies.
“The decisions we make for ourselves and our families with regard to COVID-19 greatly impact our whole community,” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. “Informal social gatherings without masks or social distancing measures are increasingly responsible for the spread of the virus and the increased cases. Now is not the time to become complacent in our efforts to fight this virus.”
The City took immediate, proactive steps to manage the spread of COVID-19 beginning in early March in advance of the statewide Stay at Home Order with the closure of the Highland Park Senior Center and other municipal buildings and the cancelation of all non-essential public meetings. In addition, the City issued a face covering requirement effective April 20, 2020, requiring all individuals in Highland Park over the age of two to wear a face covering when engaging in essential services to reduce community-based transmission of COVID-19. With case counts declining, the City facilitated the swift reopening of local businesses and restaurants during Phases 3 and 4, working with business owners to identify and implement temporary use accommodations, with face covering and social distancing requirements.
The City has continued to closely monitor local and regional COVID-19 metrics to reinforce public health recommendations and make adjustments where necessary. Most recently, in line with guidance from the Lake County Health Department, Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Cook County Department of Public Health, the City urged residents traveling to or returning from states experiencing widespread community transmission to self-quarantine for 14 days.
As case counts rise, officials of the City, North Shore School District 112, Township High School District 113, the Park District of Highland Park, the Highland Park Public Library, Moraine Township, and West Deerfield Township strongly urge all Highland Park residents to follow face covering and social distancing requirements. These simple strategies, along with frequent handwashing, are essential to continuing the City’s progress in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important as some families prepare for students to return to school in the fall.
In planning for the start of the 2020 school year, North Shore School District 112 and Township High School District 113 developed robust, detailed reopening plans designed to balance students’ instructional and social-emotional needs with the pandemic’s realities. The community’s support in wearing face coverings and diligently practicing social distancing is essential to ensuring a smooth start to school or extracurricular services with minimal disruptions to students and parents.
“District 112 needs the public’s help to reopen and stay open this fall,” said Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. NSSD112 Superintendent of Schools. “It is up to all of us to help keep each other safe. Please do your part by continuing to wear face masks and practice social distancing. The positive test rate for our region of Illinois jumped from 3.4% to 5.3% from July 15 to July 27. We must band together to get these numbers down.”
“We will continue to collaborate with our government partners in Highland Park and Deerfield as this community response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” said Dr. Bruce Law, District 113 Superintendent of Schools. “In our schools, we will follow all the guidelines to protect students and staff, but the decisions made in the community will impact what happens in school. Wear a face covering. Maintain social distancing.”
These strategies will facilitate the continued operations of other important community organizations, including the Park District of Highland Park and the Highland Park Public Library. “During this pandemic, the Park District is constantly monitoring guidance from our local, county, and state officials and has continued to provide vital recreational outlets while keeping our community safe and healthy,” said Barney Ruttenberg, President of the Board for the Park District of Highland Park. “We are now offering in-person programming with stringent safety and sanitization protocols following CDC recommendations and DCEO guidelines. The Park District is dedicated to serving our community through safe, mission-critical services that enrich community life while preparing to adapt quickly in a responsible, forward-thinking manner.”
The Highland Park Public Library has similarly implemented new social distancing procedures to ensure the safe resumption of in-person services. “The Library has reopened with limited services and safety precautions in place,” said Richard Basofin, president of the Library Board of Trustees. “To visit the Library, reservations are required. Visits are limited to 45 minutes with a maximum of 40 people in the building at one time. A mask is required for everyone over the age of two. Seating, toys, and games have been removed. Our contact-free Grab & Go service remains the recommended method for retrieving library materials.”
The two townships serving the residents of Highland Park continue to provide essential services, including financial assistance, access to food, and support with housing, transportation, and mental health services; if not offered in-house, then via referrals to other local agencies.
“Moraine Township is safely providing resident services remotely, including emergency rent and utility assistance to income-and-asset qualified residents, assistance applying for Medicaid and SNAP (state food assistance program), and all services of the Assessor’s office,” said Moraine Township Supervisor Anne Flanigan Bassi. “The Food Pantry is open to all Moraine Township residents Tuesdays from 10 AM to 2 PM providing produce, meat, dairy, and shelf-stable food. If residents are ill or sheltering in place and cannot come to the Pantry, please call the Township at 847.432.3240.”
West Deerfield Township has also adapted its services while encouraging residents to follow social distancing and face covering best practices. “West Deerfield Township has been supplying residents with masks and hand sanitizer in an effort to help keep our community safe,” said Alyson Feiger, Township Supervisor. “We have continued to provide resident services, including converting our food pantry to a drive-through service, delivering food to residents who are sheltering in place, and providing individual rides for residents who are mobility-challenged, among many other services.”
“On behalf of myself, the City Council, and City staff, we appreciate how our community has come together, particularly seeing the extensive collaboration between the various government entities serving the residents of Highland Park,” said Mayor Rotering. “We must continue to stay the course to keep COVID-19 from spreading in Highland Park. Together, we will get through this pandemic.”
Information about the COVID-19 pandemic is available at cityhpil.com/covid-19. The City urges residents to continue taking steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Because some individuals who contract COVID-19 may remain asymptomatic, it is essential to be diligent about these public health practices, even if an individual feels healthy.
All individuals are encouraged to be tested if they suspect they may have been exposed to the virus, regardless of symptoms or travel history. The timing of test results varies depending on the location and demand. Additional information is available at dph.illinois.gov/testing. Because the City of Highland Park does not have its own public health department, all testing questions should be submitted to the Lake County Health Department at COVID19@lakecountyil.gov.
General information regarding the City’s response to COVID-19 is available at cityhpil.com/covid-19.
Information from North Shore School District 112 concerning the 2020-2021 school year is available at nssd112.org. Information from Township High School District 113 is available at dist113.org.
Information from the Park District of Highland Park is accessible at pdhp.org.
Information regarding the Highland Park Public Library is available at hplibrary.org.
Information about the services of Moraine Township is accessible at morainetownship.org.
Information about the services of West Deerfield Township is accessible at westdeerfieldtownship.org.