More school districts react as COVID cases increase

Local News

The New York Times analyzed data from Johns Hopkins University showing cases across the U.S. have gone up 33% over the past two weeks. (Getty Images)

CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA) — More school districts in central Illinois released new information regarding virtual learning as the number of COVID-19 cases in the community increases.

Decatur Public Schools (DPS) is temporarily suspending in-person learning at American Dreamer STEM Academy and Franklin Grove Elementary School, due to the large number of staff members at each school who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 5, through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17, American Dreamer and Franklin Grove students will learn virtually from home. Additionally, Extended Day before- and after-school programs and all extra-curricular activities, including sports, will not be offered during this timeframe.

Officials said students can pick up their devices from their school on Wednesday morning during regular school hours and will be expected to sign into Google Classroom or Seesaw daily for live instruction.

DPS stated, “We’re asking families of American Dreamer and Franklin Grove students to please stay home as much as possible during this time to help contain the potential spread of the COVID virus. If your student begins to experience symptoms, please consult a healthcare provider and notify the school office as soon as possible. It’s vital that you inform the school if your student has symptoms or tests positive for COVID.”

Students will return to school in person on Jan. 18.


Champaign Unit 4 School District just also posted to Facebook, letting people know it has modified attendance for all extra-curricular activities starting Wednesday, due to an increased number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Middle School Activities

  • All spectators must wear a mask at all times. Spectators refusing to comply will be asked to leave the event
  • Each home athlete is allowed 4 guests per game or event
  • Each visiting athlete is allowed 2 guests per game or event
  • No additional spectators are allowed

High School Activities

  • All spectators must wear a mask at all times. Spectators refusing to comply will be asked to leave the event
  • Each home athlete is allowed 4 guests per game or event
  • Each visiting athlete is allowed 4 guests per game or event
  • An additional 500 tickets will be sold to the general public. 

Rantoul City Schools (RCS) recently sent out a letter, saying that it will very like to transition to remote learning soon because of the substantial increase in COVID cases in the community.

Officials stated, “if we see increasing COVID transmission within the school setting, we will work with the local health department to determine if schools need to close.”

They said the reason to close a school would likely be a result of a high rate of absences among the staff. At the moment, school officials said there are more than 30 out of 325 employees absent. Not all of these absences are related to COVID, but officials said COVID isolation/quarantine requirements do result in more frequent extended absences.

If a school is closed and put on remote learning, there would be a one-day pause in instruction to allow
teachers to shift to remote learning. Then, remote learning would begin on day two of the pause. Additionally, RCS will shift employees who are not leading remote learning activities to other schools in the district so those schools can remain open.

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