ELMHURST – Elmhurst Unit District 205, which was the first unit district in DuPage County to welcome back all students to campus for hybrid learning earlier this month, is reversing course.
Superintendent David Moyer, citing COVID-19 county metrics released earlier in the day, announced in an email to families Friday that the district will transition from hybrid to remote instruction for two weeks beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The "adaptive pause," in accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, will have all students transition to remote instruction consisting of daily synchronous and asynchronous learning based on daily schedules provided by teachers.
Moyer advised that earlier Friday DuPage County moved into the substantial community transmission category of COVID-19, as the weekly case count rose to 119 cases per 100,000 people in the county population – a 34% increase from last week. The DuPage County Health Department, which reported a single-day record 338 new COVID-19 cases Friday, recommends remote learning when the weekly case count rises to greater than 100 per 100,000 people.
Moyer further wrote that cases for young people under the age of 20 have risen by 46.7%. The county metric calls for remote instruction if the rate rises above 20%.
"This means that the presence of COVID-19 is on a large scale and is widely spreading throughout our community at a rapid pace that jeopardizes the health and safety of our families," Moyer wrote in the email.
The district the week of Oct. 5 welcomed back its last wave of students to school in a hybrid model as part of a rolling return to in-person learning. Juniors and seniors returned to York High School and eighth graders to middle schools in a blend of in-person and remote learning with students in school two days a week.
The district's COVID-19 dashboard shows that there has been 52 students and 10 staff members with confirmed positive cases since school started. A total of 1,486 students and 232 staff have been quarantined or had symptomatic cases for the school year, 250 and 37, respectively, this week.
All district students will be in remote learning from Oct. 21 through Nov. 4, with no remote learning on Nov. 3, a day of non-attendance due to Election Day.
The district will be in a revised hybrid schedule Oct. 19 and Oct. 20, but parents who would like their children to stay home those days may opt to attend school remotely.
"This decision is not an easy one in a community that so highly values education and in-person learning," Moyer wrote in the email. "The District 205 Leadership Team, our teachers and staff have worked hard to keep our schools physically open and we look forward to our students' return to the classroom as soon as possible. The health and safety of our students, staff and families must always come first."
The district will issue a follow-up communication on Monday, Oct. 19 with logistics such as meal and technology services, school and district administration office hours and athletic updates.
Staff and parents will receive additional communication on Friday, Oct. 30 indicating if a return to hybrid learning on Nov. 5 is possible based on health and safety metrics.