DuPage County COVID-19 surge prompts Elmhurst schools to go remote

ELMHURST, Ill. (WLS) -- The recent surge in COVID-19 cases comes at a tough time for several school districts that are returning to some sort of in-person learning.

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Watch Gov. JB Pritzker give an update on the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois on October 19, 2020.

Glenbard High School District 87 just announced it will bring students back on a hybrid schedule, but some schools that have already been doing in-person learning are doing the opposite.

At Elmhurst District 205, school officials made the difficult decision to go remote due to a continued increase in COVID-19 cases in DuPage County. The surge has prompted health officials to recommend that schools shift to remote learning.

RELATED: DuPage County COVID-19 positivity rate one of state's fastest growing

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DuPage County now has one of the fastest growing COVID-19 positivity rates in the state.

Elmhurst Community Unit School district 205 has already put a plan in place. The district will move all students to remote learning starting Wednesday.

This setback comes just two weeks after the district brought all students back to classrooms for hybrid learning.

"Anybody who was paying attention to what was going on with positivity rates and overall spread knew that this was going to be a pursuit of a sunk-cost fallacy," parent Chris Hanna said.

Chris Hanna and his wife Colleen opted to keep their 4th grade son Conor in remote learning, even when his school transitioned to hybrid learning. He said he is encouraged that the district is monitoring the COVID numbers and changing course, even though it may put a strain on some families.

"We expressed grave concern with the fact that we were going to unnecessarily be exposing children and staff to risk, when we are all going to have to go home anyway pretty soon," Hanna said.

Teachers in the district are also in support of the decision.

"The teachers would prefer to see the students each day if conditions were safe," said Max Schoenberg, with the Elmhurt Teacher's Council. "But we feel that it is a responsible decision."

With community transmission of COVID-19 in DuPage county now at the "substantial" level, the superintendent of the DuPage County Regional Office of Eduacation said: "We should all be doing our part to reduce community transmission by wearing a mask, keeping our physical distance, keeping gatherings to a small number of people, and washing our hands frequently."

On October 30, the district will indicate whether students will return to school as planned the following week.

Gov. Pritzker warned Monday that regions 7 and 8 - which include Kane, DuPage, Will and Kankakee counties - are potentially one day away from meeting the threshold to impose new restrictions. Both regions currently have positivity rates over 8%.

According to the DuPage County Health Department, the county now has one of the fastest growing COVID-19 positivity rates in the state.
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