CHICAGO (CBS) — Deep cleaning and more e-learning classes.
Those are just some of the plans in the works for some school districts if a coronavirus outbreak happens here.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke with school leaders to spell out exactly what they have planned.
Coronavirus in schools. Both the CDC and President Trump said it’s something we need to be prepared for in the U.S. as the virus takes hold around the world.
So, what kinds of plans do schools have in place?
The Illinois State Board of Education said there have been intense discussions between schools and state and local health departments. And that ultimately, the schools are following their lead.
Superintendents around the state told CBS 2 many of them have been in close contact with each other to make sure they have a more cohesive response.
The Chicago Department of Health had already issued the recommendation that any students coming from China after February 3, 2020 shouldn’t go to school for two weeks and the absences will be excused.
Chicago Public Schools told CBS 2 there’s no concrete plan they’re willing to release just yet, but pointed to flyers posted online.
Flyers similar to the ones in Barrington, Joliet, LaGrange and Evanston. Nearly a dozen schools sent CBS 2 flyers they sent home to parents on Thursday about the virus and the symptoms.
But the question remains: What steps are they all taking to keep students safe? And keep them learning?
Earlier this month, St. Barnabas school closed for the day because of a flu outbreak. The school had an e-learning day because so many students and staff got sick.
Evanston and Leyden school districts said they would likely do the same thing and hold e-learning days.
The Leyden school district superintendent said, however, they would probably need more flexibility from the state. Because right now, the district only get five emergency e-learning days per school year.
The IDPH says the state statute “allows schools districts to use e-learning days in lieu of emergency days if they have an e-learning plan approved by their Regional Office of Education.”
CPS has not yet responded to CBS 2 about whether they can or would adopt e-learning as a possibility. Some schools said they do not have e-learning options, but stressed cleaning protocol.
For example, Barrington and Wheaton school districts they’ll be proactively aggressive with their cleaning practices. Wheaton said they’re doing a deep clean for their long weekend. It’s already a common practice during flu season.
There were lessons learned when the 2009 H1N1 pandemic closed over 100 schools. The CDC said research since then shows that something small like keeping classes smaller and spacing desks further apart could have a big role in minimizing spread of other similar viruses, like coronavirus.