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Officials recommend return to virtual learning after spike in Lake County COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. —  A spike in COVID-19 cases in Lake County has health officials recommending that all schools return to virtual learning.

Some school are choosing to continue their hybrid model of in-person and e-learning, but the North Shore District, which includes Highland Park, decided to go all remote.

District 112 administrators decided to keep classrooms kid free for at least 10 days. The pivot, as they call it, came after nearly two months of successfully running a hybrid model of kids in school and learning remotely.

Mundelein High School District 120 and Elementary District 75 say they also plan to follow Lake County officials suggested guidelines.

The spread of new infections doesn’t seem to be coming from the schools but rather during community gatherings. However, the health department is worried that schools could become the source of the next outbreak.

Lake County Health leaders are seeing an alarming trend.

“We’ve been predicting that there would be a fall or winter surge but unfortunately it’s coming a little bit sooner than we thought,” Mark Pfister, Executive Director Lake County Health, said.

In less than two weeks, Pfister said COVID-19 rates have spiked.

So when I look at the trajectory of how we built up in the spring compared to what we’ve seen in the last 10-14 days, we’re really in a much higher slope as we move towards a peak,” Pfister said.

“This will not effect the majority of the schools since they’re already in remote but we have recommended they go to remote just because we have exceeded our threshold that’s in our school metrics that we’ve been using with our superintendents,” Pfister said.

The Health Department cannot force schools to close their classrooms but leaders there said it’s not a recommendation they take lightly.

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