RANTOUL — A student at Rantoul Township High School has tested positive for COVID-19.
Families and school staff were notified of the development via letter emailed by Superintendent Scott Amerio Friday morning.
School officials learned of the positive test Thursday evening.
Amerio said there was one confirmed case of a student contracting the virus and one “close contact.”
“The student (who contracted the virus) was last at school on Wednesday, Aug. 26th,” Amerio said in the letter. “We are coordinating our efforts with Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department to promptly identify and monitor individuals who have had recent contact with the COVID-19 positive individual(s) to prevent further spread within our school and community.”
Amerio said, “The health and safety of RTHS students and staff is our highest priority” and said officials recognize the uncertainty and concern regarding the pandemic.
He said RTHS is following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local health departments for best practices and procedures to protect people’s health.
The letter listed steps RTHS is following to prevent further spread of the disease:
• Identifying and notifying close contacts (i.e., persons who were within six feet of a COVID-positive individual for 15 minutes or longer). Any student who has been identified as a close contact has already been notified by the school. If you have not been contacted by the school at this point, your child was not exposed.
• Placing staff members and students who are identified as having prolonged close contact to the COVID-19 case(s) in quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts will also receive a separate notification from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department
• Ongoing monitoring of students and staff for signs and symptoms of illness and evaluation of illness reports to promptly identify possible outbreaks.
• Conducting a deep clean and disinfection of the areas impacted by potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
The letter said RTHS will continue to enforce safe practices to prevent, promptly identify and respond to potential COVID cases, as follows:
• Students and staff who are ill with COVID-like symptoms will promptly be placed in a separate supervised area away from others until they can be sent home.
• Students are required to wear face coverings at all times, as previously directed and per school policy.
• Staff are required to wear face coverings at all times while in contact with children and other staff in the facility.
• We are continuously sanitizing high-touch surfaces including door handles, stair rails, sink faucets, etc.
We are reminding students the importance of face coverings, social distancing, and proper handwashing:
— Students are discouraged from sharing personal items, e.g., water bottles.
— Students are learning new ways to greet each other without touching.
— Students are reminded to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and to cover coughs and sneezes.
— Students will be taught to wash their hands frequently and properly, following CDC guidelines on handwashing.
The letter goes on to say that as RTHS receives additional information from the Department of Public Health and other entities, that additional recommendations and guidelines will be implemented.
It adds, “As always, everyone should monitor their health and stay at home if they develop symptoms. Sick persons should contact their health care provider to determine if testing is needed. Anyone who develops severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately. If your child has had close contact with a known case of COVID-19, keep the child at home and notify your primary healthcare provider, the school, and your local health department.
“We are committed to providing your child and our staff with a safe and healthy environment. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID prevention policies and procedures as we work to help protect your children, your families, and our staff and their families. For any questions or concerns, please contact us at 217-892-6000 or you contact the COVID hotline 217-239-7877.”