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Meridian CUSD 223 moving to remote learning until Jan. 18

The school district says there are data points they considered before making their decision.
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Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:54 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:55 PM CST
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Stillman Valley, Ill. (WIFR) - The Meridian School District will be moving to remote learning only, starting Monday, Nov. 30 through Jan. 18.

“Given that, I (Dr. Caposey) feel that we have a responsibility to our students, employees, and community to ensure we are also doing our part to implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies -- including adhering to the OCHD’s recommendation. While our Board of Education is supportive of this decision, they are not universally in favor of this transition,” according to MCUSD.

The district made the decision to follow the guidance of the Ogle County Health Department, moving to remote learning after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The spread of COVID19, the strain on our regional healthcare system, our students and COVID19-related absences, our number of positive cases, and other valuable regional data points are all increasing. While we have been incredibly fortunate to not experience spread in our schools up to this point, as the conditions have worsened, we are continuing to place an increased risk on our students, staff, and community,” according to MCUSD.

On Nov. 3, the Ogle County Health Department recommended that all Ogle County schools transition to remote learning from Nov. 30 through Jan. 18 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and decrease the strain on our regional health care system.

“Since receiving the recommendation, MCUSD administration has been in close contact with the representatives from the OCHD, IEMA, and regional hospitals to understand external community trends. We have also been in communication with the Board of Education, union leadership, parents, and superintendents of other regional districts,” according to MCUSD.

The school district says there are data points they considered before making their decision.

Nearly one percent of all in-person learners currently have an active COVID-19 infection. Approximately 10 percent of all staff and students quarantined presently, including 17 percent of in-person learners in one building. As of Thursday, the school district’s zip codes seven-day positivity rate is more than 25 percent and 14-day is more than 22 percent.

CDC guidance says that any positivity rate over 10 percent leads to the highest risk for possible transmission of the virus in schools.

“As of Thursday, our district’s zip codes number of new cases per 100k is over 1,350,” according to MCUSD.

CDC guidance says that when this number is more than 200 it leads to the highest risk for possible transmission of the virus in schools.

”The Ogle County Health Department is relying more on the school to track and follow students that present with mild symptoms in order to focus on probable or confirmed cases. This switch has caused significantly more burden on nurses and other school resources. Our inability to continue to operate in a sustainable manner. We have been a single employee absence away from shutting down multiple buildings or departments within the past two weeks,” according to MCUSD.

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