Student needs at forefront of decision to close schools in wake of COVID-19 spread

Natalia Habas, Editor-in-Chief

As of Friday, March 13, all Township High School District 214 schools including Elk Grove have been closed due to the spread of COVID-19, the condition caused by a novel coronavirus. 

Students were told to bring home any materials they might need from school.

Multiple factors go into consideration when administrators make the decision to close schools.

“All these decisions are made between conversation between the principals, [District 214] Superintendent [David] Schuler, and athletic directors,” Elk Grove Principal Paul Kelly said in an interview Friday. 

But beyond the administrative level, school officials also have to consider student needs in order to make closures.

“Do students have supervision?” Kelly said. “Is there a home environment that is OK for a student to be there all day? School provides a lot of things that people don’t think about.”

The most important factor for EGHS officials was ensuring that students have support when they are not attending school. School officials and administration said they are taking proactive steps and outlining future plans to keep students and families, staff and the community safe.

“Everybody wants a day off, but sometimes it’s a little more than you think,” Kelly said. 

While classes are canceled for the week of March 16, Monday will be an institute day for all staff to prepare for e-learning in the event schools are unable to hold face-to-face instruction following spring break. 

Tuesday, March 17, through Friday, March 20, will be considered emergency days, which are automatically built into the school year in case of a snow day or other events.

Spring break is still scheduled to start Friday, March 20. 

In the case of transitioning to an e-learning environment following spring break, District 214 will be sending out additional information to prepare staff and students.

“We will continue to keep you updated and informed as the situation evolves,” Schuler said in an email sent out to parents and guardians earlier Friday.