A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

 

TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Leslie Cordes is the senior medical consultant at Latin School of Chicago. She is also a pediatrician and has been a physician for 36 years. She has a master's in public health with a focus in epidemiology. 

What is the SARS-CoV-2 saliva screening and what does it measure?

Well, the process we're offering at Latin uses saliva samples and in an assay method, a method of detecting that's called RT-LAMP. In long terms it's called reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification. What that does is it uses amplification methods on the saliva sample to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA. And that's the virus that causes the disease that we know as COVID-19. And while this method is not as sensitive as PCR tests that you may have heard of and detecting that viral RNA, the cost and the quick turnaround time of this particular test, make it a very good screening tool. Both RT-LAMP that we're going to be using and PCR are categorized as a nucleic acid amplification test, which detects the genetic material or the RNA of the virus. And that's in contrast to the antigen tests that you also may have heard of, which are designed to detect certain viral proteins. 

How will this saliva screener make our school safer? And can we relax other measures such as the mask and distancing and such?

Well, the saliva-based screening adds another layer to Latin's mitigation strategy. And it's The saliva-based screening adds another layer to Latin's mitigation strategy.
Dr. Leslie Cordes
very, very important that our community recognize that it doesn't in any way take away the measures that have been in place since the start of school, including the proper and consistent masking, distancing, hand washing, and the many measures that were clearly outlined in the return to plan. But by instituting that screening protocol, we aim to identify and isolate the asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases of COVID-19 thus reducing the risk of transmission. So these are those people who may never have symptoms of COVID-19 yet are able to spread it, or those who we are catching early, who will go on to develop symptoms, but again could be transmitting. So we are, we are working to remove these individuals from the community as a way to reduce the risk of transmission. 

Who is it that gave us the idea about starting this test?

This test was developed for use in the school systems by Dr. Ed Campbell, who was professor of immunology and microbiology at Loyola University in Maywood. And he is a member of the school board of his own children's school out in LaGrange, Illinois. And as we were working through this pandemic, he started to realize that some of the techniques that he is familiar with in the laboratory and that some of his colleagues at University of Wisconsin, Madison and University of Colorado, Boulder, were working on, could be very helpful in establishing a screening program that could be used in schools. With the goal of having something that is cost effective for the school system and had a very quick turnaround time, both of which are hallmarks of a good screening test. So he and his lab and his other colleagues collaborated to create this, a screening test and began implementing it at his own kid's school at the start of the school year.

If we look at the other schools that are using this test, what kind of results do we see?

Well, we do see that it has been effective at picking up some asymptomatic cases. Thus far, the reported results, looking at the schools that have been using it, are picking up about half a percent of those who were screened. So those are people that were coming into school feeling well with no signs at all of COVID-19 who are then having tests that have been detected and then subsequently confirmed by PCR. So again, if we're looking to see what numbers we're reaching, we're looking at probably in the neighborhood of about a half of a percent for those screened.

What will be the procedure if I have already tested positive for COVID in the past?

If someone is tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days or three months, we will not be asking that individual to submit a saliva sample.

Does this saliva screener replace a PCR test?

The answer to that is a very definitive, no, it does not. This is a screening test. It is not diagnostic and it is only for the purpose of alerting us. So we are going to ask all those that they then receive a diagnostic PCR test. We're also going to ask those individuals to isolate, and we will perform contact tracing as if this were an identified case. We're again going to then follow up with the diagnostic PCR test.

We at Latin are really working very hard to reduce the risk of viral transmission in the school and establish our school as a safe learning environment for all. 
Dr. Leslie Cordes

What resources can you look into if you're interested in more information on this saliva testing or testing in general?

I would recommend folks go to the CDC website. The work on testing and testing strategies and all the various options is evolving so very rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly updates its website. So go to CDC.gov to search for screening strategies, various types of tests and for the most updated information available.

Why does all this matter?

We at Latin are really working very hard to reduce the risk of viral transmission in the school and establish our school as a safe learning environment for all.

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Latin’s COVID-19 Saliva Screening Program

 

TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Leslie Cordes is the senior medical consultant at Latin School of Chicago. She is also a pediatrician and has been a physician for 36 years. She has a master's in public health with a focus in epidemiology. 

What is the SARS-CoV-2 saliva screening and what does it measure?

Well, the process we're offering at Latin uses saliva samples and in an assay method, a method of detecting that's called RT-LAMP. In long terms it's called reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification. What that does is it uses amplification methods on the saliva sample to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA. And that's the virus that causes the disease that we know as COVID-19. And while this method is not as sensitive as PCR tests that you may have heard of and detecting that viral RNA, the cost and the quick turnaround time of this particular test, make it a very good screening tool. Both RT-LAMP that we're going to be using and PCR are categorized as a nucleic acid amplification test, which detects the genetic material or the RNA of the virus. And that's in contrast to the antigen tests that you also may have heard of, which are designed to detect certain viral proteins. 

How will this saliva screener make our school safer? And can we relax other measures such as the mask and distancing and such?

Well, the saliva-based screening adds another layer to Latin's mitigation strategy. And it's The saliva-based screening adds another layer to Latin's mitigation strategy.
Dr. Leslie Cordes
very, very important that our community recognize that it doesn't in any way take away the measures that have been in place since the start of school, including the proper and consistent masking, distancing, hand washing, and the many measures that were clearly outlined in the return to plan. But by instituting that screening protocol, we aim to identify and isolate the asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases of COVID-19 thus reducing the risk of transmission. So these are those people who may never have symptoms of COVID-19 yet are able to spread it, or those who we are catching early, who will go on to develop symptoms, but again could be transmitting. So we are, we are working to remove these individuals from the community as a way to reduce the risk of transmission. 

Who is it that gave us the idea about starting this test?

This test was developed for use in the school systems by Dr. Ed Campbell, who was professor of immunology and microbiology at Loyola University in Maywood. And he is a member of the school board of his own children's school out in LaGrange, Illinois. And as we were working through this pandemic, he started to realize that some of the techniques that he is familiar with in the laboratory and that some of his colleagues at University of Wisconsin, Madison and University of Colorado, Boulder, were working on, could be very helpful in establishing a screening program that could be used in schools. With the goal of having something that is cost effective for the school system and had a very quick turnaround time, both of which are hallmarks of a good screening test. So he and his lab and his other colleagues collaborated to create this, a screening test and began implementing it at his own kid's school at the start of the school year.

If we look at the other schools that are using this test, what kind of results do we see?

Well, we do see that it has been effective at picking up some asymptomatic cases. Thus far, the reported results, looking at the schools that have been using it, are picking up about half a percent of those who were screened. So those are people that were coming into school feeling well with no signs at all of COVID-19 who are then having tests that have been detected and then subsequently confirmed by PCR. So again, if we're looking to see what numbers we're reaching, we're looking at probably in the neighborhood of about a half of a percent for those screened.

What will be the procedure if I have already tested positive for COVID in the past?

If someone is tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days or three months, we will not be asking that individual to submit a saliva sample.

Does this saliva screener replace a PCR test?

The answer to that is a very definitive, no, it does not. This is a screening test. It is not diagnostic and it is only for the purpose of alerting us. So we are going to ask all those that they then receive a diagnostic PCR test. We're also going to ask those individuals to isolate, and we will perform contact tracing as if this were an identified case. We're again going to then follow up with the diagnostic PCR test.

We at Latin are really working very hard to reduce the risk of viral transmission in the school and establish our school as a safe learning environment for all. 
Dr. Leslie Cordes

What resources can you look into if you're interested in more information on this saliva testing or testing in general?

I would recommend folks go to the CDC website. The work on testing and testing strategies and all the various options is evolving so very rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly updates its website. So go to CDC.gov to search for screening strategies, various types of tests and for the most updated information available.

Why does all this matter?

We at Latin are really working very hard to reduce the risk of viral transmission in the school and establish our school as a safe learning environment for all.

Explore Our News & Stories

Picture of Mark Yoon '01

In this Romans, Friends & Countrymen short, Mark Yoon '01 shares a few lessons he learned at Latin that he uses every day and the best piece of advice he's ever received, which came from a Latin faculty member!

 

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The Independent Study Program (ISP) at Latin offers students the opportunity to discover their passions and learn about a topic that is tailored to their interests. Eleventh grade student Alyssa B. '22 is interested in filmmaking, specifically the editing and post-production aspects of the industry.
She decided to take the Documentary Filmmaking ISP with Visual Arts teacher and department chair Betty Lark Ross to learn more about the preproduction and interviewing process. "I decided that doing this ISP would be beneficial in making me a more well-rounded videographer, " said Alyssa. 

As part of this class, her final project was to create a film featuring in-depth interviews I decided that doing this ISP would be beneficial in making me a more well-rounded videographer.
Alyssa B. '22
with credible sources. News coverage surrounding a popular application called TikTok and its potential concern with cybersecurity inspired the concept of Alyssa's film.

"I felt like I could not find a singular source that summarized what was and was not accurate information about the app compared to other social media platforms," she said. "So, I decided to attempt to do so myself with my film."

Alyssa diligently researched the topic using credible sources for facts to include in her film. With the help of Latin's Director of Alumni Relations Stephanie Chu and her ISP advisor, she also interviewed experts in the field of cybersecurity (some of whom are Latin alums) to offer additional insight into the TikTok security controversy.

Alyssa then utilized her skills in animation and graphics to tell an informative story in this eight-minute video titled "TikTok: A Data Dilemma."

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TRANSCRIPT

William Horberg ’76 is the executive producer of “The Queen’s Gambit,” a television limited series on Netflix. He has an extensive resume as a producer for several exceptional films, including “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Cold Mountain” and “The Kite Runner.” 

William Horberg '76 with actress Anya Taylor-Joy on the set of "The Queen’s Gambit" in Berlin.

William Horberg '76 with actress Anya Taylor-Joy on the set of "The Queen’s Gambit" in Berlin. (Photo credit: Phil Bray)

 

What is your favorite memory at Latin?

I have many favorite memories of Latin, but I guess the one that really stands out was this amazing trip we took on our spring break one year to the Appalachian part of the country to go to see bluegrass music. Dennis Sullivan, who was our anthropology teacher by day, but an amazing mandolin player in a bluegrass band at night, organized this expedition for us. And we spent a week or 10 days in Kentucky, in Tennessee and meeting all these amazing musicians and going to hear a fantastic kind of indigenous American music. 

Tell us about your latest projects.

My latest projects are “The Queen's Gambit,” which I hope everybody has seen on Netflix. It's a limited series. I also have finished a movie called “Flag Day” that is directed by and starring Sean Penn and his daughter Dylan Penn that will come out in 2021, assuming that the world is still here and that movie theaters reopen. 

How did you get involved in the film industry?

I literally printed up business cards that said I was a producer when I hadn’t done anything and hard to believe, but it actually worked.
William Horberg '76
Very circuitously. I dropped out of music school in Boston and I returned to Chicago to open the Sandburg Theatre with my Latin school, classmate Albert Berger. We showed classic and foreign films. So I started out in the exhibition side of the business. When the theatre closed, I decided to try to make movies like the ones that I loved and was screening. And I literally printed up business cards that said I was a producer when I hadn’t done anything and hard to believe, but it actually worked. The first thing I made was a series on Chicago blues music that we taped live at Chicago Fest on Navy Pier. I tried to write a few screenplays with a buddy of mine from Second City, and I got the rights to three novels that I loved. Two of which improbably eventually got made, “A Rage in Harlem” for Miramax and “Miami Blues” for Orion Pictures. In the meantime, I finally realized I couldn't reinvent the film business in Chicago, and if I was going to seriously have a go at it, I had to follow my friend Albert and move out to LA. I landed a job at Paramount Pictures, which really was my undergrad and grad school in the film business. 

What are the responsibilities of an executive producer and how is it different from the role of a producer?

Well, historically there are a lot of different people who do very different things from finding the material to raising the money, to going to high school or being just friends with the movie star that have all gotten some form of producing credit on films. I was the chairman of the Producers Guild in New York for a number of years. And the Guild has worked really hard to define the role of a producer and to limit the people who get the credit to those who actually do the work, which is to have the primary creative and financial authority and oversight over the film. In movies, the produced by credit designates, that primary role in television. It is the executive producer credit. 

What criteria do you use to choose your projects?

I have to fall in love, but I have a hard heart. So I don't fall in love too easily. I have found You better start from a place of passionate obsession, or you will never be able to sustain the effort it takes to will your project into existence.
William Horberg '76
that it can take years or even decades to get something made. So you better start from a place of passionate obsession, or you will never be able to sustain the effort it takes to will your project into existence. I also think of a Venn diagram. One circle represents the content that is getting made. Another circle represents the project I want to make. Where do they overlap and how big or small is that intersection. 

What is your favorite project that you've worked on?

In some ways that is like asking who is your favorite among your children. You have put so much of yourself into each of them. As a studio executive, I felt really fortunate to work with masters like the Zucker brothers on the “Naked Gun” movies, Mike Nichols, on “Regarding Henry,” Francis Ford Coppola on “The Godfather Part Three.” And as a producer, my collaboration and partnership with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella on “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain” and other films was a huge part of my life. And amazingly or amusingly or both, given that I don't really play chess, my first film is a producer, “Searching for Bobby Fischer” and my most recent production, “The Queen's Gambit,” were two of my favorite experiences. 

How do you handle negative feedback or criticism on projects?

I am from Chicago. I pay people to intimidate or to silence my critics. No seriously, when I'm developing or making a movie, I welcome any smart person's candid critique, as long as it is constructive and respectful. But, once the project is complete and it's out in the world, I move on. There isn't anything I can do about it at that point. And there are always going to be those who get it and dig it. And those who don't for whatever reason.

The film industry has evolved over the years. Where do you see the future of film?

Paradoxically, change is actually the one constant in my business. The biggest change, as in every business, came with the advent of digital technology and the internet. Globalization, the hyper abundance of content, the migration from the prom primacy of the theatrical exhibition to the primacy of streaming content at home... Now, the pandemic has turbocharged the changes that were already underway. No one knows if movie theaters can even survive in this environment. So I try to focus on the things that are more eternal: the craft of good storytelling, creativity and problem solving, identifying and nurturing talent, and fresh voices. 

What skills have you learned at Latin that you use in your career today?

The love of reading and the analysis of great literature and films has served me well. More than half of my films have been movies that were adapted from books. I was blessed with great teachers that Latin, like Greg Baker and Mitch Siskin and Steve Schwartz, that really pushed us to think outside the box. Greg even used to run 16-millimeter prints of classic films at his house on the weekends. It was a truly exciting environment for learning. 

What advice would you give your high school self?

Try to maintain the attitude of a beginner that's enthusiastic... curious... eager to learn... questioning the certainties around you... willing to try... be unafraid of making mistakes...
William Horberg '76

This was one that I had to really ponder. In fact, it was fun because I reached out to other people to ask that same question too. Here's where I landed. I would say, don't look for advice from your future self. They have already made all the mistakes that you need to make for yourself. You already know everything that you need to know. You just don't know it. The journey is the destination, in my estimation. 

What have you learned professionally that is the universal truth to being successful in any field?


For me, I would say, try to maintain the attitude of a beginner that's enthusiastic... curious... eager to learn... questioning the certainties around you... willing to try... be unafraid of making mistakes... for sure, to work hard and to persevere, but don't take it all or yourself too seriously. 

 

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