More Illinois Schools Moving To Remote Learning This Week Due To Covid
Dozens of Illinois schools have moved to remote learning, and more are joining them this week, as covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths reached skyrocketing new highs over the last week.
Thousands of students and staff in the Chicagoland area are now in remote learning
or going to remote this week, and a group of Quad-Cities area schools — those of the Prophetstown Lyndon Tampico school district — have moved to remote learning and canceled boys basketball due to the massive surge of covid cases in their district, and they might not be the last, as Moline High School and others are experiencing a huge surge as well, and Davenport School District is considering mandating proof of vaccination or covid test for its employees.
Illinois covid numbers have hit the highest they have ever been during the entire time of the pandemic. The Quad-Cities region’s positivity rate is over 20 percent — a new record.
The Prophetstown Lyndon Tampico district released the following on their Facebook yesterday:
Unfortunately due to a large number of positive cases involving students and staff, the 6-12 campus will be moving to remote learning from Friday, January 7th through Monday, January 17th. In-person learning at the campus will resume on Tuesday, January 18th. All extracurricular activities and athletics are paused for these students also.
Students attending PES and TES will continue in-person learning. They are expected to attend during this time unless directed by the health department to quarantine or isolate or are excluded from attendance by district staff.
Thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure the health and wellness of our students and staff.
This comes shortly after the school shut down its high school basketball program with the following announcement:
Beginning today, January 6th, and lasting through January 17th, the EP high school Boys Basketball program will be on a COVID pause. During this time there will be no practices and all events and tournaments will be canceled. The boys basketball program may resume all activities on January 18th, 2022.
Omicron is making up 73 percent of the new cases of covid-19 nationwide.
Following guidance from the IDPH and the IHSA, a 14 day pause is necessary when there is a probable transmission of COVID-19 within an athletic program. While it is sometimes difficult to track specifically where COVID-19 is spread, school administration and school health professionals have determined that the right course of action will be to shut all boys basketball activities down temporarily. This move is both reactive to data that we have collected and preventative as our ultimate goal is to ensure our teams can compete the rest of this season.
What does this mean for the athletes?
1- If you have not been contacted directly by a school health professional you are not deemed to be a close contact and will not need to be excluded from school or other activities.
2- All practice facilities for boys basketball will be closed until 1/18 and no organized team activities may take place.
3- Athletes may complete weight training or conditioning as a part of a school physical education class or on their own at home.
Thank you for your understanding during this time.
In the meantime, Moline High School principal Trista Sanders sent out a message yesterday to parents notifying them that 45 students and staff had tested positive for covid over the past week. There was no announcement of any remote learning plans or mitigations, just that the school was taking appropriate sanitation and cleaning measures.
Over in Davenport,on Monday night, the Davenport Community School District Board discussed implementing an employee covid-19 vaccination policy mandating vaccinations or weekly testing of employees not yet fully vaccinated, with the cost of the covid tests being on the employees.
The policy is on next Monday’s agenda for a full vote. If passed employees have until Feb. 4 to provide proof of vaccination.
Statewide, 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.”
They’re not alone, as dozens of schools statewide are beginning to go to remote learning.
Rock Island District 41 students wearing masks during a recent school activity. RIMSD 41 announced this week it would remain doing in-person learning.
This week, school district U-46 in Elgin announced that five of its schools — Highland Elementary, Huff Elementary, Independence Early Learning Center, Parkwood Elementary and Ridge Circle Elementary — will be closed due to staffing shortages. In addition, Lincoln-Way District 210 announced Monday that all of its schools will be in remote learning due to staffing shortages. West Chicago District 33 also has its students in remote learning due to covid cases among students and staff, as more than 10 percent of the entire district workforce is out with covid.
Niles School District 219 moved to remote learning for the next two weeks. District 300 in suburban Chicago announced that they would be closing their schools. In a statement, the district superintendent noted, “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. ”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.
Various members of the Chicago Teachers Union logged into their remote classrooms this week as a sign of solidarity in wanting to move to remote learning to stop the rampant spread of covid among students and teachers.
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.
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.
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.