BREAKING: Illinois Smashes Covid Records AGAIN; More Schools Going To Remote Learning?
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois continues to storm into worse covid territory, setting new records again for covid infections and hospitalizations, as Chicago teachers vote to go to remote learning and other schools around the state begin to lean towards closing schools and going remote in the midst of the massive covid surge.
Illinois set new records for covid cases and hospitalizations Wednesday, with 32,279 new cases of the virus, 79 covid-related deaths and 6,842 covid-positive individuals hospitalized across the state, according to the newest numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Both are the highest numbers since the pandemic began.
To put it into perspective, prior to two weeks ago, the state had never reported more than 21,000 cases in a single-day, according to IDPH data.
The state has now reported more than 30,000 on three of the last seven days, according to IDPH data.
The state is averaging 25,183 cases of covid per day and 60 covid-related deaths per day over the past week.
In all, 2,295,445 cases of the virus have been reported since the pandemic began, with 28,156 deaths linked to covid and 3,260 fatalities reported as “probable” covid deaths.
Illinois’ positivity rate is now at 14.2% in total, and 18.4% of patients tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours.
With the virus sweeping across the state, there are increasing calls for schools to shut down and go to remote learning. On Tuesday, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to switch to remote learning, shutting down schools citywide.
“We have no choice but to cancel classes,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. “We’ve already sent another notice to families. As I had conversations with our principals and said ‘what is the best path forward,’ they came back to me and said, ‘CEO, we got to continue to be the champions, and to advocate for in-person instruction.'”
“Right now, going into schools puts us at risk, puts our students and family at risk of contracting the coronavirus,” Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said. “That’s the simple truth of the matter.”
Schools in several major cities around the country including Atlanta and Detroit have also opted to go to remote learning, as many educational systems nationwide decide to shut down in-person instruction amidst record covid numbers.
In Illinois, a growing number of schools are going the same route.
District 300 in suburban Chicago announced today that they would be closing their schools on Monday and reevaluating if they were going to return on Tuesday.
On the district’s website, the superintendent said, “District staff will use January 3rd to better understand the Omicron Variant’s full impact on staffing and student attendance. Additionally, we hope to receive clarification on the updated quarantine guidelines from the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) based upon the latest CDC quarantine guidelines. ”
Two Chicago-area districts, Niles Township High School District 219 and West Chicago District 33, have shifted to online instruction.
Buffalo Tri-City School District in central Illinois has gone to remote learning through at least Jan. 10.
Virginia School District in central Illinois has announced it will go to remote learning as well, as schools in that district have 32.9 percent of students testing positive for covid or having had close exposure to someone with the virus.
In addition, Pike County’s Pleasant Hill School district in central Illinois is also going remote, due to an outbreak of cases of both covid and the flu.
Several colleges across the state announced they’ll be going to remote learning at least to begin the next semester in January. Northwestern, DePaul and University of Chicago in Cook County will all begin as remote learning, as will University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign in downstate Champaign and Illinois State University. In addition, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has told students, faculty and staff that they must test negative for covid-19 within 48 hours of returning to campus, including those who have been vaccinated, and those who have not been vaccinated will have to continue to be tested weekly.
Statewide there are no plans to reinstate online learning as the decision is typically made at a school district level, Gov. JB Pritzker said in his news conference Monday.
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