Stillman elementary school shifts to adaptive pause

STILLMAN — P.J. Caposey, superintendent of Meridian Community Unit School District 223, announced Friday that Highland Elementary School will be on adaptive pause because of an outbreak of coronavirus.

Ogle County Health Department recommended the shift to remote learning, which will be in effect starting Monday, Aug. 30., Caposey said.

The earliest date classes can resume is Monday, Sept. 13.

“While this decision pains me to make, I am confident that we did absolutely everything we could (including testing approximately 50 Kindergarten and first grade students on Thursday) in an attempt to ensure safety and stay open for in-person instruction,” Caposey wrote in a letter to the community.

The school had 21 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among students. Up to 60 students were quarantined this week.

Caposey referenced the district’s seven-day test positivity rate, which is at 24%. He compared it to nearby districts, including Forreston at 14%, Polo at 11%, Oregon/Mt. Morris/Chana at 7% and Byron at 7%.

He also noted that Meridian’s new case rate for a seven-day period was 545 per 100,000 people.

The school has an enrollment of 309 students between kindergarten and second grade.

During the remote learning, live teacher instruction will be available at 8:30 a.m. for kindergarten and from 8:30 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. for grades first and second.