Arlington Heights School District 25 employees stayed home voluntarily over exposure worries

 
 
Updated 3/2/2020 12:49 PM

Arlington Heights Elementary School District 25 officials say they aren't getting many calls from concerned parents since announcing that two employees and their children voluntarily opted to stay home from school after having contact with a person whose relative was exposed to coronavirus.

The employees and their children work at or attend Dryden, Ivy Hill, Greenbrier and Olive-Mary Stitt elementary schools. They recently learned their babysitter's relative, a hospital employee, was exposed to a patient diagnosed with the illness, Superintendent Lori Bein informed district families in an email Sunday night.

 

"None of these people have any symptoms currently," Bein wrote. "Our employees/students will stay home and self-monitor their symptoms, and they have been in contact with their physicians."

District spokesman Adam Harris said it was entirely the employees' choice to quarantine themselves.

"We didn't make them stay home," said Harris, adding that the decision to let district families know was prompted by a desire "to make sure that we were as transparent as possible."

The district fielded a few phone calls Monday about the matter with parents "mainly just wanting reassurance and a plan," Harris said.

"(It) is the reaction that we expected," he said. "Our plan moving forward is to share as much information as possible."

District officials are in contact with the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"When we do have more information and we have more guidance, that we will make sure to communicate with our families," Harris said.

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This latest coronavirus is believed to spread mainly from person to person, such as between people in close contact (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze, and from contact with infected surfaces or objects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC on Friday issued interim guidelines for schools in communities with or without a confirmed case of coronavirus.

It does not recommend self-quarantining unless people show symptoms. People are believed to be most contagious when they are the sickest. However, it is possible for the virus to spread before people show symptoms, which has occurred in some cases with this new coronavirus, the CDC reports.

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