Three cases of COVID-19 reported over past two days in Indian Creek school district

SHABBONA – In an interview on Thursday, Indian Creek superintendent Chad Willis said the three cases of coronavirus reported in the district on Monday and Tuesday are unfortunate, but likes how the district has stepped up to respond.

"The response from staff and the community has been positive in terms of feeling like we're doing proper protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe," Willis said. "One thing I've done is go talk to staff to see what we can improve upon and they reinforced they are happy with how things are going."

In separate letters to families signed by Willis sent on Monday and Tuesday, the district announced its first case since the return to school at the elementary level on Monday, followed by two more cases, one each at the middle and high school, on Tuesday.

In the letter, Willis said the cases were likely unrelated.

It's not known whether the cases are among students or staff. Willis would not go into details for privacy concerns.

School will remain in session, according to the letter. Willis said there's no set threshold for a shutdown, and said the decision will be made with input from the DeKalb County Health Department.

"What we'll end up doing is we've been in communication with the DeKalb County Health Department," Willis said. "We'll seek guidance from them on what is recommended and if they have concerns that is something we'll take into account."

The letter outlined the steps to be taken, including placing staff members and students who are identified as having prolonged close contact with the cases in quarantine for 14 days.

The letter also mentioned the ongoing monitoring of students and staff for symptoms of the viral respiratory disease, as well as a deep clean and disinfection of the area impacted by potential exposure.

The letter Tuesday also said that as they receive more information from the county and other health entities, district officials will implement additional guidelines.

Indian Creek returned to school on August 24. Indian Creek has returned to a full in-person model, with a remote learning option for those wishing to opt-out of the in-person learning.

DeKalb County was placed into a warning by the Illinois Department of Public Health last week when the positivity rate shot up from just under 5% to over 8%.

"Unfortunately we have a lot of cases occurring in DeKalb County," Willis said. "If it's in the county it's going to get into the schools. We need to minimize and prevent the transmission from student to student at school and make sure that doesn't happen."

According to the IDPH site, Shabbona jumped from seven to nine cases on Wednesday, with a positivity rate of 1.6% - still the lowest in the county, and it had been hovering around 1.1% most of last week.

"One thing we looked at when we made our back to school plan is data, and the positivity rate in our community," Willis said. "That was one of the discussions, how we compared to the suburbs of Chicago. We were very low and glad to see that. The numbers change and that's something we monitor."