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Eric DeGrechie, Managing Editor
9:21 pm CDT March 10, 2020

Following two days of closure after school officials announced a student and his family had contact with an individual that public health officials report had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), Loyola Academy will reopen Wednesday, March 11.

In an email to The Wilmette Beacon, a sister paper of The Lantern, and a letter sent out to parents Tuesday night, school officials said all practices, meetings, competitions and spirit week activities will continue as planned.

“It is important to reiterate that at this time, no one in our community has been diagnosed with or has symptoms of COVID-19,” Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick McGrath and Principal Charles Heintz said in the email. “Our student who had contact with an individual who has tested positive for the virus and the student's family remain in a voluntary 14-day quarantine and remain healthy and asymptomatic.”

According to school officials, the family continues to cooperate with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Department of Public Health and follow their recommendations.

“We will continue to monitor this student and all members of our community and provide updates if circumstances change,” the letter continues.

As reported Monday, Loyola Academy partnered with its environmental contractor, Celtic Environmental Company, to disinfect the entire building. The process took eight hours for completion.

School officials said enhanced cleaning protocols will continue when the building reopens Wednesday. According to officials, large public spaces are cleaned three times a day and classrooms are cleaned every evening. Frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails are cleaned repeatedly throughout the school day.

In addition to the Loyola student who was exposed to someone who had contracted the coronavirus, two others on the North Shore have reported exposures to the coronavirus, as of press time; however, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or symptoms related to the virus have been reported by those individuals.
• The Village of Glencoe announced Wednesday, March 4, that an employee of its Public Works Department was in self-quarantine after being exposed to someone who has a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
• A faculty member of Lake Forest High School entered a 14-day quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus while attending a Chicago high school  where someone with the virus had been present the same day.  

There are 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Illinois, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 647 confirmed cases and 25 deaths from the virus in the United States, as of press time Wednesday, March 11.

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 118,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 4,200 deaths linked to the virus, as of press time. There are confirmed cases in at least 114 countries, according to WHO statistics.

Below is additional information and guidance Loyola Academy provided in the email:

School events
All school events will continue as normally scheduled. For instance, the boys' basketball game at Robert Morris University tonight, March 10, and the Tulip Trot Dance on Saturday, March 14, will be held as planned. Visit for the most recent information, updates and potential changes.

Updated visitor policy
Moving forward, all visitors to campus during normal school operating hours must have an appointment or a planned meeting in order to enter the building. In addition, the school is temporarily suspending college-age alumni visits during the school day.

“Though we love seeing the smiling faces of our alumni, we feel it is wise to restrict access to the building at this time,” the email reads.

Travel advisories
Students and employees who plan to travel internationally or domestically during spring break should use caution and evaluate travel plans at this time. Loyola Academy is currently evaluating the domestic trips that are scheduled this semester, however, no decisions have been made at this time.

Maintaining a positive school culture
“As a Jesuit school, we operate from a place of love and compassion rather than fear in our pursuit of creating an environment that is healthy, safe and free from bias or discrimination,” the email reads. “Worldwide and in times of viral outbreak, there has historically been an uptick in racial harassment, xenophobia and insensitive remarks. Loyola Academy will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”