Jacksonville School District 117 has seen no COVID-19 outbreaks after its first week of school. Superintendent Steve Ptacek says that some staff had positive cases turn up prior to students coming back to the buildings: “We currently have among the staff 3 positive cases. All 3 happened in the very first week before kids were here, and from that, it led to some quarantine. We are very fortunate that all the close contact quarantines – it’s been well over a week – and none of them have shown any symptoms at all. We have 37 total staff that have missed days due to something with COVID. Now, many of those were just missing a day with a symptom. 23 quarantines, only 8 of those are due to school contact. Most of those are household contacts or contacts out in the community with 3 positives. We have not seen any of our positives related to someone else associated with them in the district catching it.”
Ptacek says that student numbers have also been relatively low: “We’ve had 42 student absences – 25 of those are isolation because of an illness and a concern that it could be COVID, 17 are quarantine are due to close contact and only 3 of those are school-related from being around the staff. There are 4 positive cases of students with COVID, and they all happened before school started; so we don’t have any connections of it being at school at this point in time. Here’s a big number – we’ve had 14 people in isolation and only 3 positive tests. Isolation is when you have symptoms and you think you might have the disease. We’ve had 11 negative tests.”
Ptacek says it’s a testament to the mitigation plans they have in place for individuals in isolation. Ptacek also says its been a true testament to community-wide cooperation. He says that parents did a great job of filling out and returning self-check forms and using masks. Ptacek also has praised the staff for their continued ability to rise to the challenges brought forth by the new learning environment.