Algonquin-based School District 300 administrative offices | Photo: Elara Engineering

Algonquin-based School District 300, which has over 30 schools, canceled classes for today due to a staff shortage driven by a large number of COVID-19 cases.

District 300 Superintendent Susan Harkin said in a message to parents on Thursday that the district was facing a staffing shortage as it prepared to return from winter break on Monday.

“Over the last 48 hours, the District has experienced a significant number of staff members testing positive for COVID-19. These individuals are required to isolate outside of school until cleared to return,” Harkin said on Thursday.

“If the number of staff members testing positive continues increasing through the weekend, there is a possibility District 300 would not have enough staff members to teach classes or open schools,” she added.

In a follow-up message sent on Saturday, Harkin announced that Monday would be a non-student attendance day.

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“Due to elevated positive COVID-19 cases based upon the Omicron Variant, District 300 will extend Winter Break by one day. Unfortunately, this means that Monday, January 3, 2022, will be a non-instruction day, and students will not be in attendance,” Harkin said.

She said that district staff will use January 3 to “better understand the Omicron variant’s full impact on staffing and student attendance.”

Harkin added that the school district hopes to receive clarification on updated quarantine guidelines from the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) based upon the latest CDC quarantine guidelines.

The CDC recently changed quarantine guidelines to say that people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or have resolving symptoms can quarantine for five days instead of 10 days.

The school district is expected to reopen on Tuesday. The missed day on Monday will be made up on April 25.

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The school district also reminded parents that if their child tests positive for COVID-19, the parents should contact the child’s school to report the absence and inform the attendance secretary of the positive test.