CHICAGO (CBS) — Classes at Vaughn Occupational High School are cancelled until March 18 — a full five days later than originally announced on Friday after a school aide tested positive for coronavirus.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke to the parents of quarantined students over Facetime.READ MORE: Man Fatally Shot In Roseland
“A lot of Netflix and Instacart in our forecast,” parent Cindy Ok joked.
But beneath the jokes, there is a shared nervousness amongst the parents.
“At first I did freak out. I became very anxious,” said mom Barbara Murphy. “But that doesn’t help anything, so we’re trying to stay calm.
Her son, John, gave the thumbs up over Facetime that he’s feeling fine.
He’s one of the over 200 special needs students from the school told he needs to quarantine.
“It’s tough on the parents, honestly,” said Ok. “It’s not going to be easy for parents to go out to get food, supplies, when we can’t leave our kids alone at home.”
Neither parent knows for sure whether the infected staff came into physical contact with their children, and it’s not known if she was contagious during the time she was there — yet another problem with a new virus scientists are just scratching the surface of studying.
“The school had just mentioned that she was in the room with him on Wednesday, and I think that’s why people are concerned for John specifically,” said Murphy.MORE NEWS: Man Arrested In Lincoln Square Burglary
The concern is heightened because John is “medically fragile.” He has autism and epilepsy, and he was born with right-sided congentinal diaphragmatic hernia, meaning he has partial lungs.
Weak lungs and a sensitivity for seizures with a fever make him a high risk for coronavirus, or COVID-19, which is known to bring on both fever and laborious breathing.
“If Johnny gets the flu it could damage his lungs so bad that he wouldn’t make it,” Murphy added.
Years ago, he almost didn’t make it after getting H1N1, another virus once at the center of a different outbreak.
“He ended up in the ICU for a couple weeks,” she said. “He swung out of it but he came out of it on oxygen.”
She says that CDC has been calling in lockstep with IDPH and CDPH to check in and ask questions and give updates. They say he’ll be getting tested for the virus on Sunday.
Parents like Murphy say the next week and a half will be filled with no class, lots of movies and maybe a little bit of nerves
“It’s possible that he didn’t even talk to her or brush up against her, so we just gotta wait and see,” said Murphy. “So far, knock on wood, nothing’s going with him.”