Local school districts share plans to protect students against potential coronavirus outbreak

Digital Originals

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — After four confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Illinois, and a suspected potential fifth case currently being treated at the University of Chicago Medical Center, local school districts are ensuring the public they’ll be prepared if the disease becomes present in the area.

Multiple school districts in the Central Illinois area have recently issued statements stating the health and safety of their students is a top priority and what their plans are if the virus comes to Central Illinois.

Dr. Scott Dearman, Superintendent of Dunlap Community School District #323, said the district has been sending messages to students’ parents since January regarding the subject.

“We’re working with the proper authorities to be prepare,” Dearman said.

He said they’ve been in contact with several schools and health organizations such as the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Regional Office of Education, OSF HealthCare, Illinois School Board Association, Illinois State Board of Education, etc.

“Locally what we’re doing is making sure we have our proper cleaning supplies in place and using our normal protocols,” Dearman said.

Such protocols include making sure students stay home if they have a fever, making sure they’re fever-free before returning to school, emphasizing proper handwashing and sanitation methods and making sure students cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing.

Thomas Bruch, Peoria Public Schools Public Relations Director, said they’re implementing similar health and sanitation precautions and the superintendent, Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, has been very proactive from the start in communicating with students’ families surrounding the coronavirus.

“We have sent several updates to families since the start of February and the superintendent has been in daily contact with health and government officials from the city and county in recent weeks,” Bruch said.

Barry Reilly. district 87 superintendent in Bloomington, issued a statement saying they’ll continue to closely monitor recommendations regarding the coronavirus and continue to issue updates.

Dearman also said the Dunlap School District still has 5 emergency days built into their calendar that they can make up if anything happens that would require them to close schools.

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