Superintendent Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams told students, staff and families in a letter that a significant number of those positive cases are believed to be linked to a large indoor gathering.
"Students, I implore you: Please stop engaging in risky behaviors. They put not just you and your families but our entire community at risk," Pruitt-Adams said.
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The 24 cases were diagnosed between August 15 and September 9, the letter stated.
OPRF was one of the first Chicago-area districts to announce all remote learning for its 3,400 students, which began August 19.
The I-Team has learned that 154 schools in Cook County have been linked to a COVID-19 case or "close contact" with someone who is COVID-19 positive since August 24. Cook County Department of Public Health officials confirmed these case links via contact tracing.
CCPDH will not share which schools or the breakdown of how many cases are students/faculty/staff because of "privacy concerns" and the claim because the overall numbers are "sufficiently small people could guess who is sick."
Also, CCDPH officials tell the I-Team that "cases related to schools are reflecting community transmission and -- this could change, but for the time being -- we do not have concerns with school acquired cases at the moment."
READ FULL LETTER FROM OPRF SUPERINTENDENT
"Dear OPRF Students, Staff, and Families,
I write to you today out of deep concern about the number of our students who are testing positive for COVID-19. While the Oak Park Department of Public Health (OPDPH) cannot and does not share the identity of positive cases, the department has let us know that 24 current OPRF students tested positive from Aug. 15 through Sept. 9.
We have received information from both parents and students that a large indoor gathering of students recently was held at a local home, where mask-wearing and social-distancing were not observed. A significant number of positive cases are believed to have resulted from that event.
Students, I implore you: Please stop engaging in risky behaviors. They put not just you and your families but our entire community at risk.
I also want to stress the importance of cooperating with OPDPH in its efforts to conduct contact-tracing. I understand that sharing information about unsafe behavior may be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But providing details about whom an exposed person has been with, for how long, where they were, etc., is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Whether symptomatic or not, anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 should self-quarantine for 14 days, and so should all members of the contact's household. More information about testing and quarantining is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health by clicking here.
Please remember that, according to public health officials, the following guidelines for reducing exposure to COVID-19 apply to everyone regardless of age:
It is only by working together as a community that we will be able to halt the spread of COVID-19. We all look forward to the day when we are able to return to some level of in-person classes--and with the cooperation of each and every one of you, the sooner we can make that happen.
In the meantime, take care, be well, and be safe!
Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams