COVID Outbreak Closes Chicago Suburban Elementary School for Two Weeks

An elementary school located in Chicago’s western suburbs will be closed for two weeks following a reported COVID-19 outbreak.

Nearly 600 students at Willow Bend Elementary School in Rolling Meadows will return to remote learning for two weeks after 40 coronavirus cases were recorded at the school.

“As you may be aware, over the last two weeks, there have been a growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Willow Bend,” Principal Robert Harris wrote in a letter to parents and staff. “These cases were contact traced and communication occurred to close contacts and the impacted classrooms. We have diligently engaged in the contact tracing of each case and remained in close contact with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) regarding each situation.”

Students and staff will work remotely beginning Nov. 8 and continue through Nov. 19, according to the letter. Both students and staff will be able to return to the school after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 29.

Parents were asked to come to the school and pick up their children immediately on Friday.

“We unfortunately have had 40 cases come up at willow bend over the last two weeks,” District 15 Communications Officer Rebecca Latham said. “And majority of those cases we’ve seen in the last week.”

Fourteen cases were confirmed this morning, according to the school, which prompted the district to contact the Cook County Department of Public Health. District officials said three additional cases were recorded later in the day.

“We have been trying to figure out what the connection may be,” Latham added. “We had one classroom in outbreak status, to three or more cases in one classroom. Other than that, [there were] no specific connections. We have contact tracers and are in contact with the Cook County Department of Public Health.”

Karen Flor, health coordinator for District 15, said the district had an outbreak about two weeks ago and “have been monitoring that.” She said the 17 total positive cases recorded Friday were “very surprising.”

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