Two dozen OPRF students test positive for COVID-19

Supt. Pruitt-Adams said cases might be traced to 'large indoor gathering'

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

At least 24 current Oak Park and River Forest High School students have tested positive for COVID-19 from Aug. 15 through Sept. 9, District 200 officials said in an email D200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams sent to families on Sept. 10. The cases were confirmed by the Oak Park Department of Public Health.

Pruitt-Adams indicated that the spike in positive cases could be connected to a large gathering at an area home that took place within that time period.

"We have received information from both parents and students that a large indoor gathering of students recently was held at a local home, where mask-wearing and social-distancing were not observed," she said. "A significant number of positive cases are believed to have resulted from that event."

The superintendent urged students to "please stop engaging in risky behaviors," adding that by doing so they "put not just you and your families but our entire community at risk."

Pruitt-Adams also asked students and families to cooperate with the health department's contact-tracing effort.

 Mike Charley, head of Oak Park's public health department, wrote in an email to Wednesday Journal, "Due to privacy laws, we are unable to provide specifics regarding our case investigations, however it would be helpful for the Wednesday Journal to communicate that since the state has opened back up, the village has observed a significant increase in the percentage of younger persons testing positive (<40) vs. persons over 40 years old, with the largest increase in the 14-19 year old age range."

In her letter to families Pruitt-Adams wrote, "I understand that sharing information about unsafe behavior may be uncomfortable and embarrassing," she said. "But providing details about whom an exposed person has been with, for how long, where they were, etc., is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19."

Local, state and federal health authorities have advised anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is suspected to have the virus to self-quarantine for 14 days. Their family members should do so, as well.

Public health authorities recommend that people wear face coverings while in public, abstain from attending large social gatherings, maintain at least six feet distance and stay home if they're sick.  

Contact:
Email: michael@oakpark.com

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Reader Comments

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Alice Caputo  

Posted: September 16th, 2020 7:13 AM

Wednesday Journal could you please do a follow up to report how many of these kids had symptoms, severity and duration. Guessing no deaths, but obviously that would be important data. How many then spread it to other family members, etc. Just looking for facts without politics or blame. People will form their own twist on the facts to fit their personal narrative but at least the facts are available.

Nick Polido  

Posted: September 15th, 2020 1:51 PM

I say- DRAWN and Quartered the Parents!

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 15th, 2020 1:51 PM

There's a reason rental car companies don't allow people under 23 or 25 to rent their cars. They don't want impulsive and reckless types with still-undeveloped prefrontal cortexes in the driver's seat. I find it ironic that the very same age group that was so irresponsible here also wants to be taken seriously politically.

Margie O'Malley  

Posted: September 15th, 2020 1:40 PM

Outraged, flabbergasted, sad, just a few of the emotions invoked in reading this article Teens have the excuse of not fully developed brains and a lack of maturity. Parents, what's your excuse? I hope you realize that your selfish, reckless behavior and desire for a little fun could be someone else's cause of death.

Kimberly Higgins from Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2020 12:19 PM

I could not agree more. Who the hell are these parents? Of not only the hosts of these irresponsible gatherings, but also of the attendees?! Here we are, overprotective gatekeepers in our own teens' eyes, endeavoring to work collectively for the greater good. Meanwhile, you're out here like some Instagram frat house at the University of Who Cares on the campus of Dumba*s USA. I am OFFENDED by your lack of parenting in every way. Get it together.

Jill Cohen Niewoehner  

Posted: September 11th, 2020 7:47 AM

That's assuming the parents knew...

Steve Krasinsky  

Posted: September 10th, 2020 11:04 PM

Absolutely agree with you Doug. These parents put a lot of people in danger. If there's no accountability, what's stopping them from doing this again?

Doug Garcia Luce from River Forest  

Posted: September 10th, 2020 10:50 PM

WTHeck.....The parents in Oak Park and River Forest that allow such "parties, " in these times, should be held accountable for such dangerous consequences!

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