Public schools weigh remote versus in person learning as COVID-19 cases rise

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- A large suburban school district bringing children back into the classroom Tuesday.

The return to in person learning comes as cases of COVID-19 surge in DuPage County and other parts of the state.

Downers Grove District 58 began their hybrid plan Tuesday.

Some elementary students were back in the classrooms, with masks and social distancing.

The Superintendent noted that according to the DuPage County Health Department, there is little evidence that has traced the spread of COVID-19 to schools.

The department issued a release Monday and recommended remote learning for all schools.

The number of increasing COVID-19 cases is a big concern for DuPage County health officials.

New COVID-19 numbers from Kankakee, Kane, Will and DuPage County show that at least eight in every hundred people tested, has the virus.

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"The fact that we are increasing every day, and that it is about 8% right now, is really a concern," said Chris Hoff from the DuPage County Health Department.

The county's health department recommended that all schools go back to remote learning.

That recommendation has some school districts shifting their plans.

However, District 58 in Downers Grove welcomed its students back to school Tuesday for hybrid learning.

The Superintendent said the decision was based of conversations with the County's Health Department.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell said in a letter, "The DCHD made it clear to all school districts on Friday (Oct. 16) that the mitigation efforts implemented by schools have been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting."

The Superintendent added, "the District may change this decision based on pending metrics or an increase in school-related cases."

Other school districts like Westmont's CUSD 201 and Naperville's District 203 have since adjusted their back to school plans.

Westmont's school district said students will return to remote learning next week for at least two weeks.

Naperville 203 district leaders said they will pause their "Return to Learn Plan" and stay in "enhanced eLearning" with November 4 as a tentative return date to in-person learning.

The Superintendent in Downers Grove told ABC7 the district is very excited to have its students back in class and taking extreme safety measures to best protect staff and students.
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