STAUNTON, Ill. — About one week after the start of the school year, students in the Staunton Community Unit School District will transition from in-person learning to virtual learning due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
According to a letter posted Thursday on the school district's website, students will learn remotely from Aug. 23 through Aug. 29. All district extracurricular activities have also been canceled through Aug. 29.
The first day of school was Aug. 11.
"The School District encourages all community members to maintain safe social distances, wear masks in public when social distancing cannot be maintained and wash your hands so that we may all help our students return to school safely," the letter stated.
According to the district's website, 16 students tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug. 16 and Aug. 20. Of those 16 students, 12 of them are high school students and the others are elementary and junior high students. Ninety-eight students are under quarantine.
One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.
During the closure, the building will be sanitized. Students who are not under a quarantine order may return to school on Aug. 30.
The district requires students and staff to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Staunton is in Macoupin County, where 43% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to a post on the county health department's Facebook page. The health department reported 37 new cases and 608 active cases. Its positivity rate is at 7.56%, which is below the state's goal of 8%.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 58% of the state's population is fully vaccinated and 75% has received at least one dose.