Illinois Covid Numbers Exploding; Will Schools Go To Remote Learning Soon?
As Illinois smashes records for covid hospitalizations and pediatric hospitalizations, and the omicron variant crushes the state, calls are getting louder for Illinois schools to close and switch to remote learning.
The Chicago Teachers Union is voting today on teachers possibly calling for a remote learning switch as soon as tomorrow. The call for a vote was made by several teachers concerned for their own health as well as the health of their loved ones, given they would be going back to teach amidst this massive surge in cases.
If the CTU votes to go remote, they would do so until a later date when the surge subsides, representatives said.
The CTU is not alone, as schools across the state have started to shut down or talk about the possibility of going remote.
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 yesterday.
Illinois is now averaging 23,069 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus per day over the last seven days — up a whopping 60 percent from the previous week — according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois hit a new record with 6,294 hospitalized with Covid-related illness as of yesterday — the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 20,866 new covid cases and 30 related deaths Monday, with a daily average of 23,069 new Covid cases and an average 59 Covid-related deaths per day over the past week. The weekend began with a record-high 31,461 new cases on Friday, then tapered as 22,298 cases were reported Saturday and 14,570 new cases were reported Sunday.
The biggest spike has been in hospitalizations, as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,294 hospitalized with covid, a new record high. In addition, one in four of all hospital beds statewide (25 percent) are occupied by covid patients, and 41 ICU beds are occupied by covid patients.
For ongoing coverage of this situation, continue to follow QuadCities.com.