Heyworth schools partially back in person Thursday after online pause from COVID spike

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The superintendent of Heyworth Schools said Tuesday the district will move ahead with plans to bring back junior and senior high school students to in-person classes on Thursday.

Lisa Taylor moved courses online Monday, amid a spike of coronavirus cases in staff and elementary students that close to tripled the number of cases so far this school year. She said the decision to restore in-person instruction in upper grades comes after a huddle with McLean County health officials.

“We have spent a lot of time working with the health department identifying we cannot locate a spread at school and that it seems contained to the elementary school at this time,” said Taylor.

The total number of COVID cases nearly tripled in the last week in CUSD 4, she said. Seventeen students and 14 staff have tested positive at the elementary school, while 76 people are currently excluded from school for positive tests or close contacts. All but a few are at the elementary level.

The adaptive pause came after the Monday holiday, in part because the district could not immediately find enough substitute teachers to staff every elementary classroom. With more time to do that, Taylor said they will move ahead with face-to-face teaching.

Taylor said barring additional cases, the grade school will return to in-person learning on Monday. Taylor said the district is taking some additional safety measures.

“We are already in the process of setting up on-site voluntary testing for staff that will be expanded to students. We are making plans to physically distance even more than we already are. We are small enough that we are able to do that quite well,” she said.

An email to parents also indicated the district will continue to: use outdoor spaces as allowable, increase ventilation, emphasize hand sanitizing, and encourage symptomatic individuals to stay home.

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