DANVILLE — Danville District 118 Superintendent Alicia Geddis announced late Monday afternoon she was temporarily closing Liberty Elementary School after a school employee exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.
“We had to close it for this week to clean it and also until we have more information,” she said.
In a letter Geddis sent to parents on Monday afternoon, she said, “We do not believe students were within close contact of this employee.”
Sixty-nine in-person learning students at Liberty School will participate in a remote learning program the rest of this week and return to the classroom on Sept. 21.
In the meantime, district officials will work directly with the Vermilion County Health Department, and Liberty School will be cleaned and disinfected, Geddis said.
Also on Monday, all of the students at Judith Giacoma Elementary School in Westville have switched to remote learning for the next two weeks after an individual at the school tested positive for COVID-19.
“In-person learning has been suspended for two weeks,” Westville Superintendent Seth Miller said Monday.
“We became aware we had a positive test result,” he said. “We worked with the (Vermilion County) Health Department with contact tracing, and people within close proximity of the individual were contacted.
“We have specific seating charts in the classrooms and on the buses,” Miller said.
The district sent a message Sunday night to Judith Giacoma parents informing them that an individual had tested positive for the virus.
“The school has one case that I know of,” Miller said, adding, “It is not the same individual as before.”
At the end of August, district officials decided to keep Judith Giacoma Elementary School open after a positive COVID-19 case was reported.
“Each case is unique,” Miller explained. “It depends on how many people were affected and what key role they played.
The tentative date to resume in-person learning is Sept. 28, he said.
The students at Westville High School and Westville Junior High School will continue to attend in-person classes unless they opted for remote learning before the start of school last month.
In Hoopeston, more than a dozen Hoopeston Area High School students who have been remote learning while in quarantine since Sept. 4 are expected to return to the classroom by the end of the week.
“There were 15 or 16 kids we had to exclude from school, and they’re doing online learning,” Superintendent Robert Richardson said Monday. “We should have everyone back in class by the end of the week.”
As soon as district officials were made aware that a student had tested positive for the virus, Richardson said, “We worked with the Vermilion County Health Department and did contact tracing. We got the seating chart and contacted the students around the kid.”
Richardson said the district remains vigilant in checking student and staff temperatures and inquiring about symptoms so everyone remains safe while at school.
Since the beginning of the school year in August for most Vermilion County schools, positive COVID-19 cases have prompted three districts — Salt Fork, Oakwood and Westville — to suspend in-person learning and switch to remote learning.
Monday was the first day back at school for all of Salt Fork High School’s students who have been remote learning for the past two weeks, including 29 students who were in quarantine after possibly coming in contact with a few students who tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
Oakwood Grade School closed temporarily Aug. 31 for three days with all students learning remotely from home because of a positive case.