Bourbonnais Elementary School District #53

BOURBONNAIS — Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 reported a positive COVID-19 case within the district Monday and identified 13 close-contact individuals who will be asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Superintendent Adam Ehrman said the district was informed Monday morning that a member of the school district community has tested positive for COVID-19.

In the interest of protecting this person’s privacy, he declined to identify whether this individual was a student or staff member.

He said the district “rapidly worked” with the Kankakee County Health Department on Monday to fulfill its contact-tracing process.

The district also engaged in its own process to identify and notify all close-contact individuals resulting from the positive case, including looking at classroom and bus seating charts.

The CDC defines close contact as having been within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more starting two days before illness onset or two days before the positive test if asymptomatic.

The district identified 13 close-contact individuals who will need to isolate from the in-person learning process, Ehrman said. Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines specify that close-contact individuals should quarantine for 14 days.

Students and teachers asked to quarantine would be able to continue remote learning from home if they are not feeling ill. However, certain kinds of staff members such as custodians and bus drivers would not be able to work while quarantined, Ehrman noted.

The last time the positive-testing person was in a school building while contagious was Thursday, according to a letter sent to district families and community members.

All spaces frequented by the positive-testing person will be sanitized and deep cleaned according to CDC and IDPH recommendations. Closure of a school building is not required due to a positive case, the letter continued.

“While we all may recognize that positive cases are unavoidable in this day and age, today was still a jolt to the system for some people,” Ehrman said. “Please know that we put procedural systems in place to handle this situation in a calm and collective manner.”

Ehrman also said the district is communicating as much as possible about confirmed cases to keep everyone informed at this time. In the future, district-wide announcements might not be issued for every individual case, he said.

“Thank you to everyone for your patience, grace and a willingness to work together,” Ehrman said. “The only way we can all get through this crisis is if we do so together.”

The first day of school for Bourbonnais Elementary students was Wednesday of last week.

Students are attending school in-person for half days and completing some remote learning after school, with seventh- and eighth-graders alternating days of in-person attendance.

As of Aug. 14, about 574 students, close to 24 percent of the district, had signed up for the completely remote-learning option.


Stephanie Markham joined the Daily Journal in February 2020 as the education reporter. She focuses on school boards as well as happenings and trends in local schools.

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