OLYMPIA FIELD, Ill. — A south suburban high school is canceling in-person learning for the next two weeks after two or more students tested positive for COVID-19.
Parents of students on the Rich Township High School football team received an email Wednesday around 10 p.m. notifying them of a positive covid case in the football program. The email asked the players to get tested before class Thursday morning.
Porscha Mazzarri said her son got tested and saw concerning information when he went to receive his results.
“When he went to go look at his results, he noticed a teammate’s results was positive,” she said. “My son alerted me that someone tested positive and was roaming freely. … I’m scared for the safety of my child. I’m scared.”
While mothers of some teammates said the student who tested positive during Thursday’s testing was allowed to stay at school, the district disputes that claim. The district told WGN News anyone with a positive test was immediately removed.
“They say they follow CDC guidelines. Where? How? How when you have overcrowding in the classes, on the bus, the lunchroom,” Mazzarri said. “There’s no way possible for that to happen.”
The district sent an email to all families later Thursday evening and announced two or more positive tests. The district also closed the building to students for the next two weeks.
Families with students identified as close contacts of the people who tested positive received an additional letter.
The letter to families reads, in part:
This letter is to inform you that two or more individuals at Rich Township High School have tested positive for COVID-19. We are coordinating our efforts with the Cook County Health Department to promptly identify and monitor individuals who have had close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual(s) to prevent further spread within our school and community. Close contact is any unmasked person who was within three feet of a COVID-positive individual for 15 minutes or longer. Because we have protocols already in place we were able to identify those in close contact of a COVID-positive individual.
Based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education(ISBE), the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and our local health department, Rich Township High School District 227 has decided to suspend in-person instruction and all activities from Friday, October 1 to Thursday, October 14, 2021.
To prepare for remote learning, Friday, October 1, 2021 will be considered an emergency school closure day. The district will implement synchronous remote learning during the quarantine period effective Monday, October 4, 2021. We will return to full in-person instruction Monday, October 18, 2021. We recognize that the quarantine should end on Friday, October 15, 2021, however due to Parent Teacher Conferences, this day is a non-attendance day for our students. Staff will return Friday, October 15, 2021.
More information on the school’s website.
Parents told WGN News they are frustrated with the lack of time to prepare for a return to remote.
“It’s super concerning,” Monique Fenn said. “What does that look like? Where do they log in? Who do they talk to if they have a question?”
The district issues a statement to the media that said:
Rich Township High School District 227 will implement a 14 day school closure due to individuals testing positive for COVID-19. The district will implement synchronous remote learning during the 14-day quarantine period effective Monday, October 4, 2021 and return to full in-person instruction Monday, October 18, 2021.
Per our Covid-19 protocols we were notified of individuals who tested positive on September 29, 2021. Due to protocols already in place, we were able to immediately identify those potentially impacted. We will continue to coordinate our efforts with the Cook County Health Department to monitor other individuals who have had close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual(s) to prevent further spread within our school and community.
Per the IPHD guidelines, all school buildings and district offices will be closed for deep cleaning.