OPRF explains decision to cancel sports and after-school activities saw rise in COVID – NBC Chicago
Officials at Oak Park River Forest High School wrote another letter to parents and students on Saturday, explaining their decision to cancel all school-related sports and activities after seeing an increase in positive cases of the coronavirus.
In a letter to parents and students, OPRF Supt. Greg Johnson said school officials “are not taking the impact of this decision lightly,” and provided several reasons for the announcement:
- Number of new COVID-19 cases this week puts OPRF transmission rate at 425 per 100,000 people
- Positive cases continue to be recorded despite high vaccination rates for both students and employees. Johnson noted that 76% of high school coronavirus cases are in fully vaccinated individuals
- The number of positive COVID cases has grown rapidly, with the majority recorded last week
- An average of 50 to 70 people should be contacted for each positive case
- Despite mitigation measures, such as mandatory mask wear and social distancing, cases continue to rise
- Some mitigation measures, such as quarantined classrooms and smaller classrooms, are not possible at the OPRF
“Our number one goal is to keep the school open for in-person classes. With the athletics and activities taking place this weekend, it was an area of density that we could address immediately as we work as quickly as possible to find a better solution. Johnson wrote.
To get sports and activities back on track, Johnson said everyone in high school must wear a “high-quality mask,” as well as undergo a voluntary saliva test every week. He added that the students should also separate themselves more during the lunch period.
The OPRF students and their parents met in front of the school to organize a rally on Saturday around 4 p.m. to protest against the authorities’ latest decision.
Johnson wrote in a separate letter on Friday that the school had registered 17 new cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days and was in “close communication” with the Oak Park health department.
As of Saturday, all clubs, sports and extracurricular activities, including training and competitions through the OPRF, will be canceled during the school’s winter vacation.
“We understand that this announcement is disappointing and frustrating, especially as our winter extracurricular activities have only just begun. However, protecting the health and safety of our entire community is our top priority,” Johnson said in the letter.
Johnson wrote that the OPRF will continue to work with Oak Park health officials over the next two weeks to determine the way forward.