West Chicago District 33 converts to remote learning this week

West Chicago Elementary District 33 schools have switched to remote learning this week because of a high number of workers being absent.

"It was a very difficult decision to make," Superintendent Kristina Davis said Monday.

The district notified parents Thursday.

Davis said the district knew Thursday at least 75 of its approximately 750 workers, including teachers and support staff members, would be absent this week because of COVID-19 or other reasons.

Then it learned that 51 other people had tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 49 can teach remotely, but two are too ill to work, she said.

More positive test results are expected from a screening of 560 students, workers and their relatives that happened on Thursday.

Davis said the district might have managed in-person learning if no more than 45 people were off, using substitute teachers. She also said the custodial staff was particularly hard hit.

Students and teachers practiced their remote-learning computer skills before winter break.

"The practicing before the break was really in preparation for a snow day," Davis said.

She hopes the state will reduce the number of days people should stay in quarantine from the current 10 days. "It would significantly help," she said.

Davis said COVID-19 testing is available this week at all the district's schools. Workers may be tested from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Students can be tested from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

In Kane County, Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 delayed reopening schools one day because of the number of staff members that called off sick. It will re-open Tuesday, according to an announcement sent Monday afternoon to students' parents.

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