Two more Chicago-area private schools canceled classes Tuesday amid concerns over the coronavirus.
Chicago Public Schools officials, meanwhile, believe the virus at a Northwest Side special education high school has so far been contained to only the one aide who tested positive last week, with several student tests since coming back negative.
CPS CEO Janice Jackson said there are currently no plans to close any other public schools, and that it’s “business as usual” for all CPS events and activities even as the district plans for various potential scenarios down the line.
“We’re thankful that as of right now another round of [Vaughn] students has been tested [and] all of them have come back negative,” Jackson said at a news conference with Chicago Department of Public Health Deputy Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Layden.
Meanwhile, Resurrection College Prep High School, a Catholic all-girls school on the Northwest Side, dismissed classes Tuesday morning after learning a school member came into contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus, COVID-19.
The school, at 7500 W. Talcott Ave., will be closed through Wednesday for a “deep cleaning,” the school said in a statement.
In Lake View, a synagogue and attached day school were also closed Tuesday after the parent of a student tested positive for COVID-19.
Anshe Emet Synagogue and Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School sent messages to families Monday confirming a parent tested positive for the virus and was under self-quarantine, and that the building would be closed Tuesday. Bernard Zell is set to reopen Wednesday after a deep cleaning Tuesday, according to an email statement.
No student or staff member of Bernard Zell has tested positive for coronavirus, head of school Gary Weisserman said in a letter.
“While the Department of Public Health advised that closure is not required, out of an abundance of caution we are cancelling school (and all after-school activities) tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10, while we continue to consult with public health officials,” Weisserman said.
He said the spouse and children of the coronavirus patient do not have symptoms but will undergo testing Tuesday.
In another letter to parents, senior Rabbi Michael S. Siegel said the school and synagogue would remain closed until they receive the family’s test results.
The Jewish day school, at 3751 N. Broadway, enrolls more than 500 students from nursery through 8th grade, according to its website.
The latest school closures come after two others, including Loyola Academy, Illinois’ largest private high school, did so. Loyola canceled classes for a second straight day Tuesday after administrators learned a student had come in contact with a coronavirus patient.
In CPS, students and staff of Vaughn Occupational High School in Portage Park have been advised to quarantine themselves after a class aide tested positive for the disease. The school will be closed for the rest of this week.
A second group of students was tested Sunday — with results all negative — as CPS hired an outside vendor for a deep cleaning at Vaughn. Layden wouldn’t say how many people have been tested because “it changes very fluidly.” But the aide who tested positive last week “continues to do well,” she said.
“We’re trying to make it as convenient as possible for kids and their families,” Layden said. “Testing is an easy procedure, but it can be scary sometimes to go to a health care setting and not necessary if you don’t have significant symptoms.”
The student population at Vaughn has complex special needs, and three quarters of the school’s 212 students come from low-income families. With many parents working wage jobs or being self-employed, the week-long disruption has proved difficult to navigate.
Among the support CPS is offering Vaughn families are a special hotline and email for questions and requests, and boxes of food that will be available starting Wednesday with help from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Jackson said.
“Each box has enough food for three days and will be available to Vaughn families beginning tomorrow at our CPS warehouse,” Jackson said. “We will also deliver food directly to families who are challenged with transportation.”