Another Jasper County Community Unit 1 employee has tested positive for coronavirus infection and new temporary metal carport structures and a computer app for student check-ins are in use at the public schools.

The staff member at Newton Elementary School testing positive was not around students, JCCU1 Superintendent Andy Johnson explained in a letter released on Aug. 21 to the public. In addition, he wrote several students are on quarantine at this point due to close contact with individuals testing positive. He explained most of the quarantined students' close contacts have been adults outside of the Jasper County school district.

In-person classes remained in session at Newton Elementary School as early last week, with emphasis on safety precautions as recommended by Jasper County Health Department as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health (see those measures listed below). A staff member at Jasper County Junior High School led to a week-long switch to remote learning only to prevent the chance of spread among those students. In-person classes at JCJH were scheduled to resume last week.

Students and their parents this week noticed metal additions at the school facilities. The carport structures are temporary for providing shelter on temperature checks and COVID-19 screenings of students. In addition to protection from foul weather, the structures provide some confidentiality on screenings. The entrances can also provide "mask breaks" on some days.

A new app called SchoolWize (note the ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’) will provide an easier check-in for students daily. This app is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Families can also check their TeacherEase account for an announcement with links to the app. This app will take the place of the screening forms.

The app can be used to submit a child’s COVID symptom screenings each morning. Screenings submitted the night before will not count for the next day's screening. For students attending St. Thomas, screenings only need to be submitted for bus riders.

Students riding the bus will still need to give the bus driver the paper form stating that they have been screened using the app. Any questions about or problems with the app can be emailed to Aaron Kurtz, District Technology Coordinator at

What is NES doing to prevent further spread of the disease to students or staff? Here is a list.

Placing staff members and students identified as having prolonged close contact to COVID-19 in quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts will also receive a separate notification from the Jasper County Health Department.

Monitoring of students and staff for signs and symptoms of illness and evaluation of illness reports to promptly identify possible outbreaks.

Conducting a deep clean and disinfection of the areas impacted by potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Students and staff ill with COVID-like symptoms will be placed in a separate supervised area away from others until they can be sent home.

All students and staff must always wear face coverings, as previously directed and per school policy.

Sanitizing high-touch surfaces including door handles, stair rails, sink faucets and more.

Removal of plush toys and other toys that cannot be properly or frequently disinfected.

Teaching students the importance of face coverings, social distancing and proper handwashing.

Discouraging students from sharing personal items, like water bottles.

Showing students new ways to greet each other without touching.

Reminding students to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and to cover coughs and sneezes.

Following CDC guidelines on handwashing.

Emphasizing the importance of monitoring health and staying at home if a person, especially a child, develops COVID-19 symptoms. Contact a health care provider to determine if testing is needed or if severe symptoms develop then seek medical care immediately.

Any child having close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 should stay home. The parent should contact a healthcare provider, a school or daycare and the local health department. Anyone who develops severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately. If your child has had close contact with a known case of COVID-19, the child should stay at home and the parent should notify a doctor, teacher, daycare provider or the health department.