Less than two weeks after one student in a fifth-grade class at Ames School tested positive for COVID-19, a classmate has also tested positive. This is the first time that two students in the same classroom have tested positive for COVID-19 in our area and meets the technical definition of a school outbreak.

“The Department of Public Health defines an outbreak as two cases in the same classroom within a 14-day time period and this is at 13 days,” said District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan- Toye. 

Ryan-Toye said she didn’t know if the second student caught the virus from the first student. Contact tracing efforts are in effect and classroom transmission cannot be ruled out at this point.

In addition, both the morning and afternoon sections of the teacher’s fifth-grade class have been told to isolate and attend classes remotely. Ryan-Toye said the teacher is healthy and not the source of the infection

“It is possible that the second exposure infection came from another source,” Ryan-Toye said. “At this point we can’t determine that so we really need to follow the clear guidance from the Department of Public Health.”

There have been 12 COVID-19 cases, nine students and three staff, in District 96 since the school year began. Four of the students who have tested positive attend Ames. The increasing number of positive tests in suburban Cook County has caused Ryan-Toye to consider switching to 100-percent remote learning or changing the hybrid plan so students attend school in person less frequently. 

This week Ryan-Toye will meet with her district leadership team and then meet with the leaders of the teachers’ union to consider what to do.