Local News

More than 440 DeKalb County students contract COVID-19, and 1,560 quarantined

COVID-19 cases, quarantine numbers skyrocket in local schools as new year begins amid omicron

School Bus at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb, IL on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

In the first school week of the new year, 441 students from DeKalb, Sycamore and Genoa-Kingston schools were reported positive for COVID-19, as were 120 employees. And 1,566 students were quarantined due to exposure, according to new data released Tuesday.

It’s the highest numbers of students and employees impacted by the virus that’s been reported so far in the pandemic. The update comes amid a surging omicron variant and record numbers reported in the county and nation after the holidays.

School districts are continuing in-person classes as of Tuesday.

COVID-19 case and quarantine data released by local schools is provisional, with most recent statistics varying by district.

There is a 21.2% seven-day positivity rate within DeKalb School District 428 communities, including DeKalb, Malta and Cortland. From Jan. 2 through Jan. 8 in DeKalb schools, 70 employees tested positive for COVID-19 and 170 students contracted the virus in. There are 42 employees quarantined and 760 students quarantined districtwide.

DeKalb students didn’t return for the new year until Thursday, Jan. 6. Genoa-Kingston and Sycamore schools returned Jan. 3.

According to enrollment numbers from the most recent available Illinois Report Card data, DeKalb School District’s quarantine rate is about 12% of its student body population, which is 6,427 in the 2021-2022 school year.

For the week of Jan. 3 in Sycamore Community School District 427, 233 students tested positive for COVID-19, with 192 students excluded in quarantine because of close contact and 522 additional students in quarantine. There were 38 employees that tested positive for COVID-19, 4 employees excluded in quarantine because of close contact and 53 additional employees in quarantine.

Sycamore School District’s quarantine rate is about 20% of its student body of 3,533, according to the most recent available enrollment data.

In the Genoa-Kingston school district, between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8 there were 79 students and 12 employees who tested positive for the coronavirus. In that time frame, 92 students were also in quarantine but not positive, as was one employee, according to data released by the district Tuesday. According to enrollment data, that means about 6.2% of Genoa-Kingston School District’s student population of 1,480 is in quarantine.

Each school district updates its COVID-19 reports at least once a week. In DeKalb, data is collected each Friday and will be updated on the district’s website each Monday, according to the website. In Sycamore, the COVID-19 online data page is updated weekly. Genoa-Kingston’s data is released weekly via a Twitter post from O’Daniell and also is shared on the district’s website.