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Eric DeGrechie, Managing Editor
9:01 am CDT March 9, 2020

Loyola Academy will remain closed Tuesday, March 10, after school officials announced a student and his family had contact with an individual that public health officials report had tested positive for coronavirus.

"To allow for the disinfecting process and to continue to exercise an abundance of caution for our community, we will be closed on Tuesday as we continue to work with our public health partners and authorities," Robin Hunt, director of public relations, told The Wilmette Beacon, one of The Lantern's sister papers. 

The original announcement to close the school on Monday, March 9, was made on the evening of Sunday, March 8, after the school was informed by public health officials of the situation.

According to a second release sent out by Loyola Academy and Principal Charles Heintz on Monday afternoon, health officials are still awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the school, this individual that tested positive has not been on Loyola’s campus at any time. The Loyola student exposed to the coronavirus was in class through Friday, March 6. The Loyola student and the student’s family are now under a 14-day quarantine and are not manifesting symptoms of COVID-19.

According to the release, no Loyola student or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Based on conversations with medical experts, we believe the risk to Loyola students is very low, however, as a result of this one student’s exposure and out of an abundance of caution, classes will be cancelled tomorrow, Monday, March 9,” Loyola Academy said in the release.

“We know this situation is unsettling. However, canceling school on Monday allows us to do an enhanced cleaning of the school and to consult further with public health officials,” school officials said in the release. “We will communicate with you on Monday about plans moving forward.”

Working with health departments
Loyola Academy officials have been working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Health throughout the day. Hunt told The Beacon that "both agencies have assured us that the steps Loyola has taken in closing the building are above and beyond their recommendations."

Hunt said the school has also been consulting with the Wilmette police and fire departments.

According to Hunt, Loyola Academy has hired an outside environmental contractor to disinfect the entire school building today, March 9. The disinfection process is expected to take eight hours and is "most effective when left untouched for an extended period of time."

Additional building precautions
As an added precuation to the school's enhanced cleaning protocols performed daily at the school instituted on Feb. 28, Loyola Academy announced Monday it has partnered with its environmental contractor, Celtic Enviromental Company, to disinfect the entire building starting at noon, March 9. The process will take eight hours, according to the release, and is "most effective when left untouched for an extended period of time."

Co-curricular and athletic practices and competitions
At this time, according to the press release, all practices, games and competitions held by Loyola Academy have been cancelled for today, March 9, and tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10.

Unless explict permission has been given by Principal Charles Heint or Genevieve Atwood, vice president of athletics and fitness, no teams or clubs are permitted to meet on our off school campus on Monday or Tuesday.