Rising COVID cases lead to emergency meeting in Oak Park School District – NBC Chicago

Just days after the Oak Park Department of Health released new COVID-19 guidance for schools following a spike in cases, a village school district board announced its own actions to help reduce the spread of the virus.

At an emergency meeting on Friday, Elementary School District 97 voted to require masks on field trips and for those attending indoor events inside school buildings, including graduation ceremonies. Schools will also try to move indoor activities outside as much as possible.

“Right now, our status is average, but I remember when we were at the bottom, so clearly our status is rising, and before we get to the top, we have to take stronger measures, not just in schools, but in the whole village. , said Venus Hurd Johnson, referring to the three levels of the COVID-19 community defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The changes come as the school district and village see an increase in cases.

“If Oak Park is looking at the numbers and going back to what was keeping the kids and teachers safe, I think that’s a good idea,” said father Michol Whitney.

The Oak Park Department of Health reported 158 positive cases between ages 5 and 13 last week.

With cases on the rise, some parents are asking the district to do more.

“I think they need to take more drastic measures and implement the mask mandate again,” said father Milon Stovall.

“I don’t think we’re out of it yet and we have to be safe,” said another spokeswoman, Yvonne Judice.

Under the new COVID guidelines revealed earlier this week, schools must immediately begin tracking contracts after being notified of a COVID case. All close contacts must be notified within 24 hours as per the recommendations.

Individuals identified as close contacts are advised to participate in biweekly SHIELD COVID testing. In addition, anyone who tests positive is encouraged to self-isolate for a minimum of five days and wear a high-quality mask for 10 days after an infection, health officials added.

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