37 students test positive for COVID-19 at O’Fallon, Illinois Elementary School – Community News

37 students test positive for COVID-19 at O’Fallon, Illinois Elementary School

O’FALLON, Illinois — Central Elementary School in O’Fallon, Illinois, will switch to distance learning in the next two weeks after dozens of students tested positive for COVID-19.

Dawn Elser, the Superintendent of 104 Central School District, said 37 students have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday. She said the outbreak started in a kindergarten class.

“It’s quite a challenge,” Elser said. “We have been very proactive. In all our classrooms we wash our hands, we keep our distance. We had it very well in hand.”

Elser said going virtual was the best plan to prevent the virus from spreading.

“I know it’s very hard for the parents, but when the dispersion is over 10% of our population and in 16 out of 22 classrooms, we felt it was best for the safety of the students and staff to go remote,” Elser said.

For one parent it was a headache.

“If you have to go remote, you just ruin the whole holiday. It ruins everything,” said single mother Katelyn Silva.

Silva said the timing couldn’t be worse for her two daughters to return home to school. Her first-grader, Natalie, and preschooler, Jaslyn, have been away since Monday after the district said there was a COVID outbreak.

“I’m very concerned that we’re really going to get tested, and my neighbors, their children, have tested positive,” Silva said. “I feel like it’s getting too close to home now.”

Silva received a letter from the district stating, “Due to the high number of positive cases, Central will not transition to distance learning until Nov. 15 through Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 28.”

Superintendent Elser said the district will offer optional testing once students return to the classroom after Thanksgiving.

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