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Schools, village taking steps to ward off coronavirus


Last updated 3/11/2020 at 3:57pm | View PDF

The Village of Hinsdale and local school districts report that they are closely monitoring developments regarding the coronavirus.

Brad Bloom, assistant village manager and director of public safety, said Wednesday that village manager Kathleen Gargano has been participating in COVID-19 informational conference calls at the state, county and regional levels.

No village events or meetings had been canceled due to the pandemic, but that crews hired to clean its facilities were asked to provide additional cleaning sessions, he added.

The Hinsdale Public Library posted on Facebook this week that it has removed toys and puzzles from its children’s department to “keep these frequently touched (small) items clean and sanitized.”

On Tuesday, Hinsdale High School District 86 announced that Hinsdale Central orchestra’s spring break trip to Austria had been canceled. In an email to the district community Monday, Superintendent Tammy Prentiss said such activities are being scrutinized.

“We have and will continue to strictly adhere to the travel notices that have been issued by agencies such as the CDC and U.S. Department of State,” Prentiss stated. “If a destination is not covered by these notices, we will work with the groups to assess/evaluate the benefits of proceeding with a trip versus the risks it may pose to the health and safety of those who are taking part in it.”

She said the schools are being routinely cleaned.

“These efforts have and will continue to include an increase in the disinfecting of common touch points such as drinking fountains, doorknobs, locker handles, etc. We are also looking into the purchase or procurement of additional resources (e.g., more hand sanitizer stations) that can support the preventive measures we are already taking in our buildings,” Prentiss stated.

In the event a student, staff member or relative contracts or is exposed to the virus, Prentiss said the district will work closely with the DuPage County Health Department and feeder schools to implement emergency plans.

In Community Consolidated District 181, no after-school activities or programs had been canceled as of Wednesday, according to communications director Jamie Lavigueur. Students are being encouraged to wash their hands frequently, and staff has ensured that all schools have hand sanitizing stations near lunchrooms, according to a release on the district’s website.

“We have been and will continue to perform routine cleaning and disinfecting in our buildings, as well as a deep cleaning on a weekly basis,” the statement reads.

Sick students and staff will remain separate from well students and staff until they can leave, the release added, and the district is developing an Emergency Operations Plan specific to contagious disease responses.

Lavigueur said the district administrative team had contacted DuPage County Health Department officials, who said they were waiting for a communication from the Illinois Department of Public Health before they make a recommendation.

“We expect to receive that information later this afternoon,” Lavigueur said Wednesday. “This is a rapidly developing situation so our plans are subject to change, but we will continue to update our website with the latest information and stay in touch with our community by email.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext 103


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