With five COVID-19 positives, EG administrators continue to stress mitigation

Administrators Valerie Norris and Kyle Burritt are in charge of handling and tracking student COVID-19 cases and staff COVID-19 cases, respectively.

A+screenshot+of+THSD+214%27s+COVID-19+tracking+dashboard.+Retrieved+from%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableau.com%2Fviews%2FD214Mitigation%2FD214MitigationDashboard%3F%3AshowVizHome%3Dn

A screenshot of THSD 214’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard. Retrieved from: https://public.tableau.com/views/D214Mitigation/D214MitigationDashboard?:showVizHome=n

Gavin Ewen, Sectional Editor

As Township High School District 214 staff and students continue ahead with hybrid learning, Elk Grove High School tallied five total active infections of COVID-19 positive cases, as of Thursday, Feb. 18.

According to the district’s COVID-19 tracker, that is the highest total of any school in the district (John Hersey High School has two positives). Along with the infections, 30 more EG students are self-isolating in the quarantine phase, which the highest total in the district. Elk Grove maintains an infection rate of 1.19 percent.

“As a school, we are following the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and IDPH [Illinois Department of Health] guidelines and recommendations,” assistant principal for student services Valerie Norris said on a Zoom call.

In order to be deemed a close contact, students or staff would have to be within six feet of someone who is positive, or near the positive individuals for at least 15 minutes. These guidelines have been used in-school when both a student and or staff member may have tested positive for Covid-19.

“We have very specific protocols for a positive case, which include finding close contacts to the individual who tested positive,” Norris said.

As for quarantine, students who test positive must stay self-isolated for a total of 10 days. Students who are close contacts must be in quarantine for a total of 14 days. Administrators Norris and assistant principal of operations Kyle Burritt are in charge of handling student cases and staff cases, respectively. 

“Most of this is set up by mitigations and tiers that both IDPH and the District have constructed to keep everyone the most safe,” Burritt said via Zoom.

As of Feb. 18, there were roughly 215 students and 205 staff members attending Elk Grove for in-person learning. The rest of the school’s students or faculty members are remote. Parents were required to sign a waiver over Infinite Campus to allow students back for five-days-a-week in-person learning. 

“The students have been absolutely great about keeping their masks on, wearing them the right way and staying socially distanced from their peers and staff members,” Norris said via Zoom.

As for the teaching side of things, Burritt said he was blown away by the way all teachers and staff members have pivoted and adjusted to this new way of teaching. He said teachers are finding new apps to connect to kids and collaborate with one another. 

“Everyone has been doing an exceptional job, even though it can be difficult at times, but the students are also helping out their teachers by being transparent,” Burritt said via Zoom. 

With both in-person learning and remote learning as options, the sharing and collaboration with students and teachers has become more important than ever. 

And as students reach the latter part of the school year, both Burritt and Norris said they would continue to urge students, staff, and community members to reach out to anyone with questions, concerns or even just need someone to talk to. 

“Reach out to whoever you trust because times are tough, you need those connections and the fact is, we are all in this together,” Norris said via Zoom. 

All students are still welcome back in the building and both Burritt and Norris said they are fortunate to have both options for students.