St. Viator halts in-person classes, athletics after 'higher than acceptable' COVID-19 rate

  • Students returned for the new school year at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights on Aug. 24, but new positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend led officials Monday to temporarily switch to remote learning.

      Students returned for the new school year at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights on Aug. 24, but new positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend led officials Monday to temporarily switch to remote learning. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/6/2020 10:38 AM

Six weeks after starting the school year in person, St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights closed its doors Monday and switched to remote learning because of a "higher than acceptable" COVID-19 incidence rate within the school community, officials said.

New positive COVID-19 test cases among those in the school were reported over the weekend and during the overnight hours Monday, reaching "our threshold for keeping our students and faculty safe," school President Brian Liedlich and Principal Karen Love wrote in a letter to parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Officials plan to resume classes in two weeks, on Oct. 19, but said conditions will dictate that decision.

For now, all classes are remote, and students will be expected to follow their block schedule via Zoom video conferencing. All extracurricular activities, including athletic practices and games, are suspended.

"While we had experienced only a few isolated instances since returning to school on Aug. 24, in the past few days the number of reports exceeded what we feel allows us to provide a safe environment for our faculty, staff and students," Liedlich said in a statement. "We are well-prepared to continue with a robust eLearning experience and look forward to welcoming everyone back to the school once we are certain that the threat of spread has been sufficiently reduced."

School spokesman Jim Mitchell did not say whether the positive COVID-19 tests came from students or faculty members. All results were reported to the school, and all who enter the building have been required to complete a daily wellness form and have their temperatures taken, he said.

The school does not administer COVID-19 tests, Mitchell said, but officials asked parents to continue to report to the school nurse any student who tests positive or exhibits symptoms over the next 14 days.

Other COVID-19 test results are pending, Mitchell said.

Most of St. Viator's 837 students chose the school's in-person learning option, with a few choosing remote, when the academic year began Aug. 24.

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