Des Plaines District 62 cancels all classes this week due to COVID-19
Classes in Des Plaines Elementary School District 62 have been canceled for the week, starting Tuesday, because of rising COVID-19 infections.
Superintendent Paul Hertel alerted parents and employees to the emergency closure in an email and on the district's website over the weekend. Classes were in session Monday.
The surging infection rate associated with the omicron variant has led to staffing and substitute shortages and increased the amount of calls for contact tracing, Hertel said.
Classes are being canceled rather than held remotely because the district doesn't have enough healthy staffers or substitutes to handle the task, he said.
"We are deeply compromised at this time with the number of staff that are out sick," he said. "Those that are working are extremely stressed and I acknowledge the impact this ... has had on our staff."
Students and employees will return to campuses on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Schools already were set to be closed Monday, Jan. 17, because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
To make up the four emergency days off, classes will be held on four days that previously had been scheduled as professional learning days: Feb. 18, May 11, June 2 and June 3.
Serving more than 4,300 preschoolers through eighth-graders, District 62 has 11 schools and an early learning center.
So far this school year, 623 students and employees have tested positive for COVID-19. That's about 12% of the total student-and-staff population.
More than 900 students and 103 employees are in precautionary quarantine because of potential exposure or infection. That's more than 21% of the student population and nearly 16% of the staff.