District 214 Announces Death of High School Student Likely from Coronavirus COVID-19 Complications, and Another Student in ICU Due to COVID-19

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A student death (likely due to Coronavirus COVID-19) was announced on Saturday, April 18, 2020 in the ninth paragraph of an eleven-paragraph email to District 214 parents. The letter began with information about cancellation of the school year, graduation considerations, and a project that brings donated masks, gloves and gowns to nurses and maintenance staff at Northwest Community Healthcare. The death of the District 214 student — likely due to complications from Coronavirus COVID-19 — was announced in the email, but no gender, grade level, or school information was revealed. Also, in the third to the last paragraph in the letter from Superintendent David R. Schuler, Ph.D., was the announcement that the school district has at least one additional student who is in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) “due to COVID-19.”

“Finally, it is my unfortunate responsibility to inform you of the passing of one of our students this week, likely due to complications related to COVID-19. In addition, we currently have at least one additional student who is in the ICU due to COVID-19. Our student services staff is working with family and friends to provide support during this tragic time.

While we may be seeing a plateau in confirmed cases and deaths related to COVID-19 in Illinois, this is a dark week in District 214 that leaves me with an incredibly heavy heart. We will continue to move forward to see the sunrise again one day; however, this week in our District is marked by pain and sadness. My family’s thoughts and prayers are with these families and all members of our District’s school community during this global pandemic.

During this dark and painful week in D214, I would implore you to please follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order, wash your hands and practice social distancing. Thank you for your review and consideration of this message and know that our staff is doing everything we can to support students, their families and friends, and fellow staff members during this extremely difficult time. Please be well.”

— David R. Schuler, Ph.D.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced in its daily Illinois Coronavirus update on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 that there was a female teen Coronavirus death in Cook County among the 80 new deaths reported in the preceding 24-hour period, along with an additional 1,346 Coronavirus cases. Initially, there was no confirmation that the female teen death was the high school student from Township High School District 214 from any authorities. To date, the teen death announced April 15, 2020 was the first official announcement of a teen death from Coronavirus COVID-19 in Illinois.

The IDPH announced the very first Coronavirus death in Illinois on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. District 214 announced on Friday March 13, 2020, the cancellation of District 214 school classes and all facilities beginning Monday, March 16, 2020.

According to the World Health Organization, the incubation period for COVID-19 range is 1-14 days with the most common incubation period around five days. Time from symptom onset to death is about 14-22 days, according to an aggregate table published on github (SOURCES: Dorigatt I. et al; Linton NM. et al. [PDF]; Jung S. et al; and Sanche S. et al.

High School District 214 is the largest high school district in Illinois with six high schools (Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, John Hersey, Prospect, Rolling Meadows, and Wheeling) and one specialized school (Vanguard) with six programs serve about 300,000 residents in the communities of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling and Des Plaines in a 68.30-square mile area. Total student enrollment for 2017-18 was 12,331 in grades 9 through 12. Depending on the school, enrollment ranged from 1,818 to 2,162. Average class size for 2016-17 was 21.1.

Two high schools closed in the 1980s because of decreasing enrollment of high school age students. Arlington closed in 1984 with D214 enrollment at 13,742; and Forest View closed in 1986 with D214 enrollment at 12,447. Peak enrollment was 19,823 in 1975-1976.

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