District 99 confirms first COVID-19 case within school community

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Alex Miranda

"District 99 and District 58 are sharing information that we have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school community," the email reads.

On Mar. 24, District 99 alerted via email the first confirmed case of COVID-19 within the District 99 and District 58 community. The affected individual is not a student or staff member. As of Mar. 23, The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) reported 95 total cases within the county; this number is expected to rise in the upcoming weeks.

“[The DCHD has] identified that there is no increased risk to our students and staff, beyond the existing community spread,” the email read.

Apart from this initial case, District 99 Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele stated that the school community will not be notified of additional COVID-19 related incidents.

“We were recommended to inform the school community by [the DCHD]… It is unlikely that we will be aware of every case in our community, but we felt it essential to let everyone know that the first case in our school community was reported,” Thiele said.

The email informed recipients that anyone over age 60 and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications. Furthermore, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released guidelines for testing that all Illinois residents are advised to follow.

“Right now, [the IDPH] is recommending testing only for individuals who require hospitalization or for people who are part of a cluster of two or more possible or confirmed cases in a residential setting, such as an assisted living facility, group home, homeless shelter or correctional setting,” the email read.

Thiele noted the most effective way to practice healthy habits is through self-observation.

“Self-observation means people should remain alert for fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel [any of these symptoms], they should take their temperature, limit contact with others and seek health advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed. If any student is tested for COVID-19, the student or their family should inform us of the results so we can share that information with the health department,” Thiele said.

He continued, stating the “number one concern is that students are healthy and supported through this outbreak. We hope they are following the advice of health officials, just as we as school leaders are.”

Visit the DCHD website and the IDPH online resource for the most current reports.

To read further updates from District 99 concerning COVID-19, click here.