Crews were hard at work Saturday cleaning a school on Chicago’s North Side, closed for several days after a teacher’s assistant tested positive for the coronavirus this week.
A convoy of vehicles from the health department and a variety of environmental cleanup crews were stationed outside of Vaughn Occupational High School, a day after a woman in her 50s, who works as a special assistant classroom assistant, was confirmed to have the disease.
Paul Norman, a resident of Portage Park, lives mere steps from the school.
“You hear about these things overseas, in other countries, and the next thing you know it’s Chicago, then the next thing you know it’s literally down the street,” he said.
The woman was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in San Francisco on Feb. 21, according to officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health. She returned to work Feb. 25, and her last day at the school was March 2.
Classes at the school have been canceled for next week as a precaution, and staff who may have been exposed to the virus have been asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, according to CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
CPS is not considering closing all schools in the city, according to officials, but all children who are sick will “be sent home immediately,” according to a letter circulated to parents this week.
Saturday, canisters of what appeared to be sanitizing solution were seen outside the school, along with tables weighed down with bundles of gloves, duct tape and face masks.
The case is the sixth coronavirus case in the state of Illinois. The fifth resident to be diagnosed with the virus, a 20-year-old college student, was released from a local hospital Friday.
City officials say that the risk to the public remains low, saying that officials at both the city and state level are well-equipped to handle the virus.
As of Saturday morning, there have been a total of 395 cases of coronavirus reported in the United States, with 19 fatalities. 16 of those fatalities have been reported in Washington state.