October 18, 2021

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Hundreds at Lane Tech, Chicago’s largest high school, exposed to COVID-19

Hundreds of people are believed to have been exposed to the coronavirus at Lane Tech College Prep High School — the largest high school in the city.

Lane Tech is the largest high school in the city with more than 4,200 students, so this is a concern for many parents.

According to data on the district’s website, last week there were two confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 408 people were identified as having close contact with them.

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The district’s website says all individuals identified as close contacts are instructed to quarantine for 14 calendar days.

Matt Leonard’s son is a freshman at Lane Tech. His son is vaccinated and wears a mask every day, but Leonard still has concerns about COVID.

“Sending your kids to school during a pandemic that’s still going on, there is a leap of faith that your kid’s gonna be OK,” Leonard said.

Parents at the school received an email on Monday outlining Lane Tech’s COVID quarantine protocols. It says that any student who has been required to quarantine will receive information on how to access remote learning.

“You knew with a school the size of Lane Tech that it was probably gonna happen,” said Leonard.

Dr. Shikha Jain with the University of Illinois at Chicago says she’s hearing complaints from Chicago Public Schools parents about how long it takes to be notified of a case.

“Most of the CPS parents that I’ve talked to have been frustrated with the turnaround time,” Jain said. “They feel like from the time of exposure to the time when they were notified is a very long period of time. There’s also a concern as to how quickly the kids are being pulled out of school.”

CPS says its contact tracers are working around the clock and as part of the process, the district has given principals the authority to flip classes to remote learning while case investigations are completed.

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It also says contact tracing can be complicated with individual circumstances differing in each scenario, which is why the district’s approach includes school-level actions in partnership with the contact tracing team.

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