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Little Village’s Spry Elementary Cancels Classes All Week As Teacher Says Nearly All Of School Is Quarantined

Officials said the school is closed because of “expected staffing levels." One teacher said 15 of the school's 18 classrooms are in quarantine.

The Little Village Arch on Feb. 19, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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UPDATE: After initially canceling classes all week, Spry Elementary leaders reversed course, reopening the school Wednesday but shifting some classes to remote learning.

LITTLE VILLAGE — A Little Village school is staying closed at least through the end of the week, with teachers saying the ongoing COVID-19 surge has forced most of the school into quarantine as the district prepares to resume in-person classes Wednesday.

Officials at John Spry Community School, 2400 S. Marshall Blvd., announced last week that classes would remain canceled through Jan. 14 due to “expected staffing levels.” At a press conference Monday, Chicago Teachers Union representatives said 15 of the school’s 18 classrooms are in quarantine.

Spry teacher and teachers union delegate Elizabeth Morales said only 130 of 315 students came to school Jan. 3, the first day back from winter break. Now, all but three classrooms are in quarantine, Morales said.

“This means not all our 100 students who have signed up for surveillance testing were present, and still our positivity rate meant that nearly every student and staff member was exposed to a [COVID-19] positive individual,” she said Monday. 

Principal E. Laura García-Graham did not immediately respond to a request for comment. District officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Morales also said six staff members at the school tested positive, further exacerbating the staff and substitute shortage.

Many students stayed home from Spry Jan. 3 and 4 — before CPS canceled school due to the teacher’s union vote last week — due to concerns about the safety and health of schools amidst rising COVID-19 cases, union officials said.

“It’s no surprise that come Jan. 3, students were absent because they knew that walking into the  school building without enough mitigations in place was not the safest thing to do,” Rebecca Martinez, CTU director of organizing, said at the press conference.

RELATED: As Most CPS Students Return To Classes Wednesday, Some Parents Plan To Keep Their Kids Home Amid COVID-19 Surge

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