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Northern Illinois Elementary School On Adaptive Pause After 40+ Positive COVID Cases

At least 40 elementary school students have tested positive for COVID in Stillman Valley.

Highland Elementary School announced that students are now on a two-week adaptive pause, just days into the new school year.

PJ Caposey is the superintendent of Meridian School District 223. He says the number of positive cases could soon be over 50, and it’s especially tough since elementary school students struggle the most learning remotely.

“Each grade level will have a check-in with their class and that goes exactly as long as the class can handle,” he said. “Second grade is obviously going to make it probably a little bit longer than kindergarten, but each day is going to be a little bit different.”

Caposey says in-school testing and contact tracing will hopefully limit the number of quarantines, even if they have a similar amount of cases this year. He says he asked the Ogle County Health Department if the adaptive pause could only be one week, but they recommended two weeks based on the number of cases.

The district was one of the first in Illinois to see quarantines last school year. The superintendent says many students and families believed the worst of the pandemic was behind them.

“It's deflating, in many ways, simply because, at least last year, it was a linear progression.”

The district also had a smaller sports-related outbreak at the high school.

He says if elementary school students quarantine after the pause, they’ll have a dedicated teacher meet with them after the school day, because of limited staff.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that 546 Illinois schools have already had potential COVID-19 exposures. The state database lists26 school outbreaks, which means at least five cases from different households linked back to a shared exposure at the school.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.