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Following two days of closure after school officials announced a student and his family had contact with an individual that public health officials report had tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), Wilmette’s Loyola Academy will reopen Wednesday, March 11.
In an email to The Current and a letter sent out to parents Tuesday night, school officials said all practices, meetings, competitions and spirit week activities will continue as planned.
“It is important to reiterate that at this time, no one in our community has been diagnosed with or has symptoms of COVID-19,” said Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick McGrath and Principal Charles Heintz in the email. “Our student who had contact with an individual who has tested positive for the virus and the student's family remain in a voluntary 14-day quarantine and remain healthy and asymptomatic.”
According to school officials, the family continues to cooperate with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Department of Public Health and follow their recommendations.
“We will continue to monitor this student and all members of our community and provide updates if circumstances change,” the letter continues.
As reported by The Current on Monday, Loyola Academy partnered with its environmental contractor, Celtic Environmental Company, to disinfect the entire building. The process took eight hours for completion.
School officials said enhanced cleaning protocols will continue when the building reopens Wednesday. According to officials, large public spaces are cleaned three times a day and classrooms are cleaned every evening. Frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails are cleaned repeatedly throughout the school day.
Below is additional information and guidance Loyola Academy provided in the email:
All school events will continue as normally scheduled. For instance, the boys' basketball game at Robert Morris University tonight, March 10, and the Tulip Trot Dance on Saturday, March 14, will be held as planned. Visit goramblers.org for the most recent information, updates and potential changes.
Updated visitor policy
Moving forward, all visitors to campus during normal school operating hours must have an appointment or a planned meeting in order to enter the building. In addition, the school is temporarily suspending college-age alumni visits during the school day. “Though we love seeing the smiling faces of our alumni, we feel it is wise to restrict access to the building at this time,” the email reads
Students and employees who plan to travel internationally or domestically during spring break should use caution and evaluate travel plans at this time. Loyola Academy is currently evaluating the domestic trips that are scheduled this semester, however, no decisions have been made at this time.
Maintaining a positive school culture
“As a Jesuit school, we operate from a place of love and compassion rather than fear in our pursuit of creating an environment that is healthy, safe and free from bias or discrimination,” the email reads. “Worldwide and in times of viral outbreak, there has historically been an uptick in racial harassment, xenophobia and insensitive remarks. Loyola Academy will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”