Lake Bluff school district sends elementary students home after COVID-19 exposure, says parents slow to report cases

LAKE BLUFF, Ill. (WLS) -- More than 50 fifth graders at Lake Bluff Elementary School taking part in in-person instruction have been sent home after at least two cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Lake Bluff School District is suspending in-person instruction for all fifth graders at the school just weeks into the school year due to the cases. Students will learn remotely.

"We have been planning for this and preparing for this all summer. We have a solid plan and we are implementing our plan," said Dr. Lisa Leali, Lake Bluff School District 65 superintendent.

Only some of the students were exposed to COVID-19, and will need to isolate at home and monitor for symptoms. District officials said the cases could be connected to social gatherings and youth sports.

The cases are being investigated by the Lake County Health Department.

"We are just now looking to have the community partner with us and make sure they are practicing safe and healthy habits outside of school and being honest with us when they need to share information," Leali said.

Leali said the parents of the two students didn't report the cases to the district right away, and one parent still isn't responding to county health officials.

"There has been some hesitation to cooperate with the health department, and it is just a matter of answering someone's questions," she said.

Right now roughly half of the district opted for in-person instruction. The district is planning for the possibility of more COVID-19 cases as the school year progresses.

"We are anticipating this will still be a bumpy road and we will encounter this again. So we are looking for everyone to do their part," said Laeli.

The District 65 board president is encouraging parents who don't want to take the necessary precautions to protect their children from COVID-19 to take advantage of remote learning until the pandemic is over.
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