CU health district recommends all-online for K-12 schools

A+student+takes+a+University+COVID-19+test+at+State+Farm+Center+on+Oct.+8.+The+C-U+Public+Health+District+has+recently+recommended+all+K-12+schools+to+switch+to+online+learning.

Cameron Krasucki

A student takes a University COVID-19 test at State Farm Center on Oct. 8. The C-U Public Health District has recently recommended all K-12 schools to switch to online learning.

By Chieh Hsu, Staff Writer

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has recommended all schools K-12 to switch to online learning until at least Jan. 5 because of worsening virus spread in the county. 

The recommendation came Thursday after more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Champaign County over the course of the week. 

“That’s exponential growth, and we are seeing an explosion of cases,” said CUPHD Administrator Julie Pryde. 

Shortly afterward, Superintendent Susan Zola of Champaign Unit 4 School District announced a district-wide switch to online learning, effective on Monday. 

Pryde’s message is still just a strong recommendation, not an official order for county schools. 

The weekly positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Champaign County has jumped above 9% as of Wednesday, Nov. 11, and 10 county residents have died from virus-related complications in just 10 days.  

“We see most of the COVID spread right now is being caused by gatherings,”  Pryde said. “Including formal gatherings, such as parties, weddings, receptions, funerals, dinner parties, birthday parties, meetings and informal gatherings such as just friends and family getting together.”

CUPHD suggests attendees of a gathering assume that everyone is infectious, including themselves, and treat it as such.

In a conversation with The Daily Illini, Mayor Diane Marlin of Urbana expressed concerns over the inefficiency of the testing system used in Urbana. 

“We do have an issue with testing, and the test results in the Marketplace are taking much longer to get back to people,” Marlin said. 

According to Marlin, the current testing system in Urbana can take up to 48 hours to report the result, which has already passed the critical interval to notify an individual who is contagious from the virus. 

On Sunday, Champaign County confirmed another 196 cases of the coronavirus, bringing the county up to 818 active cases. Ten county residents are currently hospitalized for the virus.

[email protected]