More Than 700 Naperville Students Quarantined Last Week, Data Shows

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More than 700 students in a Naperville school district were quarantined last week, data from the district showed Wednesday.

According to Naperville Community Unit School District 203's COVID dashboard, 707 students - including 424 high schoolers, 87 junior high students and 196 elementary school kids - along with two staff members were under quarantine the week of April 12.

The school noted that reasons for quarantine can include being a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 either at school or outside of school, having a household member who is a close contact, quarantining due to travel guidelines or because a family is choosing not to send a student to school.

At the same time, 25 students tested positive for COVID and two staff members reported positive tests. The number of cases is lower than the week before, which saw 40 students and two staff members with positive tests.

But the number of quarantines is significantly higher than the 353 students and seven staff members reported the week prior.

Jocelyn Harris has three daughters in Naperville District 203 and said one of her girls has been in quarantine.

“I’m a single working mom and I finally got them back into school into a plan of attack in terms of having their schedules back up and running and then I get thrown a wrench in reality nothing has affected my kid at all,” she said.

The district said it is still offering students the option of full online-only learning and those who are quarantining are "live streaming into their classrooms."

Some parents like Stephanie Raquel say they're frustrated with the district’s COVID policies and procedures. Her two children attend Naperville North High School.

“There’s a lot of inconsistencies right now with the school district, the county health department and the CDC guidance,” she said.

Health officials are seeing an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases as Chicago-area high schools resume in-person learning, but the origin of the cases varies by school.

There are currently 12 active cases at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, according to school officials. They said 147 students are in quarantine.

"Everybody that’s reported positive infections has told us they were with groups of kids without masks on in basements or in eating places, like a sandwich shop or something like that," said principal Gordie Sisson.

Sisson said no one is seriously ill and there have been no hospitalizations. He said what is happening at Hersey High School does not meet Cook County’s definition of an outbreak, because there are not five or more linked cases.

More than a dozen COVID-19 cases have been reported at Oswego East High School, with more than 300 students currently excluded from in-person attendance due to those reported cases.

According to officials at Oswego East High School, a total of 15 positive cases have been reported among the student body at the school. More than 300 students will be excluded from in-person learning as a result of those tests, and as a result the school is moving to all-remote learning from April 22 to May 1.

“In the past few days we’ve seen a leveling off so we’re hoping that’s starting to stabilize and we have a decrease,” said Chris Hoff with the DuPage County Health Department. “But since March cases have gone up dramatically again. We’re about 200 new cases per day being identified in Dupage County despite all the vaccination success. We know there are people who haven’t had a chance to be vaccinated that includes young people who may not be eligible to be vaccinated yet.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health is currently monitoring 21 school outbreaks and some may be linked to sports.

“While it is difficult to determine where an exposure occurred, we are hearing during investigations about people unmasked in locker rooms, weight rooms, social gatherings, bus rides and even on the field [not wearing or improperly worn masks]," said IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold. "Additionally, some athletes are playing while symptomatic and not getting tested for fear of missing playing time or quarantine."

The Lake County Health Department said cases have recently doubled among children who are between 14 and 18 years old and spread could lead to infection in family members.

"We really need to make sure that our children, if they are eligible to get vaccinated, are vaccinated,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed of the Lake County Health Department. “That in the interim, we are very cognizant that we are practicing those three W’s of wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance.”

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