Chicago’s Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School Shuts Down After Student Comes Down with Coronavirus

Thursday, March 12, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Jim Hoft
March 12, 2020

On Wednesday night a Chicago private school announced one student has come down with the coronavirus after both parents tested positive with the virus.

The student at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School – BZAEDS – also tested positive.

There are nursery students through eighth grade at the school.

The school sent out a notice to parents last night.

The school was reopened this week but is now shut down.

The parent was on the campus last week and met with faculty members.

“Late this evening, we learned that the spouse, and one child of the parent who was previously confirmed positive for COVID-19, have also tested positive for the virus. Upon receiving the test results, we again consulted with our partners in the public health community, as well as our medical advisors.

The affected parent was last on campus on March 5, 2020 for Parent-Teacher conferences, and met directly with some of our faculty. While the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) assessment is that the risk to our community remains low, their protocol with regard to those teachers who came in contact with the parent has changed. CDPH will be speaking with those teachers tomorrow with the intent of monitoring their health for an additional seven days.

Again, the CDPH continues to emphasize that the risk to our community members remains low, and in fact, does not recommend a school closure; nor did yesterday’s school session pose any additional risk. Similarly, the risk of transmission by our community members to the general population remains unchanged.

At the same time, it is clear to us that the landscape with regard to best practice in community health has changed, and is moving from tracing individual contacts to protecting whole communities from exposure. With that in mind, and recognizing the importance of our entire faculty in daily school operations, school will be closed tomorrow, March 12, 2020, and will remain closed through Friday, March 20. Pending further information, our current plan is to reopen on Monday, March 23.

Ever since the viral outbreak has become a public health concern, the Bernard Zell leadership team has made it our collective priority to ensure the health and safety of our community members by relying on the expert opinion of public health authorities and medical professionals. Unfortunately, even with the best minds at work, COVID-19 is a new health threat, and the understanding of this virus continues to evolve by the minute. We will continue to act in alignment with the best science available to us in order to ensure the safety of our community.

The status of the parents and the child:

“The two parents and child “are symptomatic but in good sprits,” Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School spokesman Brian Barasch said.

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