Pecatonica Elementary School moves to remote learning due to COVID-19

Local News

PECATONICA, Ill. (WTVO) — Pecatonica Elementary School will enter into an adaptive pause and go to remote learning beginning on Wednesday, December 1.

The change is reportedly due to staff and students negatively impacted by COVID by either testing positive or being deemed a close contact. The elementary school now does not have enough adults available to cover the necessary duties to teach and monitor the safety of students, according to Pecatonica Community Unit School District 321 Superintendent Carl B. Carlson.

The school will be closed on December 1 for a deep cleaning, and students will remain in remote learning until December 10. Students are planned to return to school on December 13, when staff is allowed to return based on quarantine guidelines.

Staff will reportedly send notifications to families within their respective classrooms on December 2, and students will be expected to connect with their teachers on this day as well.

For students that were not in school Tuesday, time slots will be set up on December 2 for families to pick up necessary school materials and Chromebooks

The Middle and High Schools are expected to stay open and operate as normal, with after school activities being altered if specific activities are compromised by COVID-19 related issues.

It was a busy morning for custodial staff at the elementary school Wednesday as they deep cleaned every surface at the school. Hallways and classrooms sat empty, missing the usual buzz of students.

“Yesterday we crossed that threshold, we had a few more positive cases between students and staff,” Carlson said. “Over all, we have 14 adults impacted, whether they are positive or have to stay home with children.”

Carlson said that the decision to move to remote learning was not an easy decision.

“We have a short substitute list, and we’re out of adults, so the decision was made to take an adaptive pause until Friday the 10th of December and we come back on the 13th,” Carlson said. “So, when you start knocking out 15 to 20% of your people, it’s hard to have coverage.”

Carlson said both staff and families have been very cooperative, but said it is circumstances like these that makes it out of the district’s control.

“Everybody is doing their due diligence,” Carlson said. “I mean, we follow the safety protocols here, we spray each night on second shift with electrostatic sprayers, we socially distance with partitions at lunch. We’re washing our hands, we’re socially distancing, but once that hot spot seemed to erupt, wherever that might have been, it spread pretty quick. So COVID is still here and we’re still dealing with it, and we’re hoping to get over this and get back to school.”

Carlson said the school nurses are actively working on contact tracing, and working closely with the Health Department so they can safely return back to school.

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