As COVID cases have steadily increased in recent weeks, school children have not been immune. Area schools have been reporting an increase in positive COVID tests among students recently.
At Riverside-Brookfield High School, 15 students have tested positive since the school’s fourth quarter began on March 16. Only 20 RBHS tested positive during the entire third quarter.
Six RBHS students tested positive in the week ending April 16, four RBHS tested positive in the week ending April 9, and two students tested positive in the week of April 2.
Positive tests at RBHS resulted in the girls varsity and JV volleyball teams and the varsity cheerleading teams being forced to quarantine for a time. Some football players, who it’s unclear just how many, also were forced to quarantine after exposure to a teammate who tested positive in late March.
Staff members, who are mostly fully vaccinated, are faring better. No RBHS faculty member has tested positive in more than a month. Eighty-five RBHS students and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID since the school year began in August.
In Riverside Elementary School District 96, nine students have tested positive in the last three weeks. Last week, 33 District 96 students had to quarantine because of exposure to kids who tested positive.
Most of the exposures apparently took at place at scouting events, either Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts, said District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye. Students who attend Ames School account for five of the nine confirmed cases last week. Three Ames School students tested positive during the week ending April 9 and one Ames student each tested positive during the week ending April 2 and the week ending April 16.
Two Blythe Park students tested positive during the week ending April 2. Those were the first positive cases among Blythe Park students since November. No Central School student has tested positive since the week ending March 19 and no Hollywood School student has tested positive since January, according to data posted on the District 96 website. Only one student at L.J. Hauser Junior High School has tested positive in the last three weeks.
Positive tests are also surging in Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95, where nine students have tested positive in the last two weeks. Almost all of positive cases in District 95 this year have come from exposure outside the school buildings, said District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski.
Twelve District 95 students were in quarantine on April 19, according to the District 95 COVID-19 dashboard posted on the District 95 website. Students must quarantine if they have come within six feet of someone who tests positive for 15 minutes or more.
Komarek School Superintendent Todd Fitzgerald said only one Komarek student has tested positive recently. Four students in LaGrange District 102 tested positive last week and 14 students were quarantining on April 19.
Superintendents remain confident that there has been little or no transmission of the virus in school.
Districts 102 and 96 have been offering saliva screening tests to students and staff, although District 96 officials are disappointed in the number of students and staff participating in that program.
A little less than half of students who have been attending school in person have been getting their salvia tested. The test, which is not a diagnostic test, requires a person to spit into a tube and submit it for testing. Students and staff participating in the saliva testing program are tested once a week.
Nearly half of teachers and other certified staff are participating in the free saliva screening test. Some wonder if the teacher participation rate is dropping because teachers in District 96, as in other districts, have had the opportunity to be receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We continue to encourage people to participate,” Ryan-Toye said.
District 96 school board member David Barsotti said during the April 7 school board meeting that he questioned the value of the saliva testing if fewer than half of students and staff were taking the test.
But board member Lynda Murphy argued that the testing was still useful in identifying possible positive cases of COVID-19.
“I would love to see the numbers higher and I would encourage people to participate,” Murphy said.