Hundreds of students quarantine in suburbs due to potential COVID-19 exposure

More than 700 students in Naperville Community Unit School District 203 were quarantined last week.

The district says families can quarantine for other reasons than COVID-19 exposure, but it did say that last week there were 25 coronavirus-positive student cases and two adult cases.

At John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, there are 13 active infections and 155 students are in a required quarantine, which means they would have had close contact with an individual who was infected, according to Dave Beery, a spokesperson for High School District 214.

Beery also described that close contact means anyone who has been within six feet, with or without a mask, for a cumulative 15 or more minutes over a 48-hour period. Beery said it appears that transmission is occurring outside of school.


FOX 32 talked to the principal at Hersey High School about where else students are being exposed.

"It’s happening in basements in sandwich shops ... these kids can’t wait to take their masks off, " Principal Gordie Sisson said. "It’s a very challenging situation."

Hersey sophomore Gabriella Laquaglia said she’s surprised by just how many students are being sent home.

"With COVID and everything, it was different already,"she said. "Like my Spanish class was full. But now half of the kids are out because they’re all quarantining."

She said it’s nerve-racking when some students don’t wear their masks correctly.

Sisson says the school is probably the safest place to avoid exposure, adding that the quarantines are out of an abundance of caution.

Roughly 300 students are in quarantine at Oswego East High School, prompting District 308 to pause in-person learning through May 1 after 15 cases were confirmed.

Still, state health officials say COVID-19 cases throughout the suburbs and state are declining.

"We really need to stay safe because right now we don't have a pediatric vaccine approved yet, " said Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, Assistant Professor at Lurie Children's Hospital, "Over 16 we do have an option, but that leaves out a lot of the population."

Dr. Heald-Sargent also said it's important for people who have been vaccinated to keep wearing their masks to protect the population and so that it sets a good example for kids and teenagers who can be easily influenced by others.

For parents with concerns about the spread of coronavirus and sports, Dr. Heald-Sargent says certain sports are higher risk or lower risk, but as much as you can wear the mask, the better.