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MOKENA, IL — Mokena Elementary School was listed as the source of a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the latest data posted Friday on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website. This is the fourth time a Mokena School District 159 school has been placed on the outbreak list since classes started Aug. 18.
The source of the outbreak was listed as a classroom, and fewer than five cases were reported.
The Illinois Department of Public Health defines an outbreak as two or more COVID-19 cases among people from different households who may have had a shared exposure, such as at school.
The first COVID-19 outbreak at MES was reported Aug. 27. That outbreak resulted in a first-grade class there being placed under quarantine.
The second COVID-19 outbreak at MES was reported Oct. 1. During that outbreak, Patch received emails from a source with knowledge of the outbreak that showed MES Principal Rachel Chorley notified parents Oct. 4 that a second-grade teacher at the school had tested positive for the coronavirus and would be under quarantine until Oct. 7.
In a later email, also sent Oct. 4, Chorley notified parents that five students in the class had also tested positive for the virus, resulting in a quarantine for the entire class, per Will County Department of Health guidance.
This is the first COVID-19 outbreak reported at a Mokena D159 school since the omicron variant was first reported Tuesday in Illinois. It is not known which of the variants those affected by the current outbreak have.
Mokena D159 has reported a total of 122 students who have tested positive for COVID-19 since classes began for the 2021-22 school year, according to data on the Mokena D159 website. That data was last updated Monday.
Additionally, 16 staff members to date have tested positive for COVID-19 this school year, according to the Mokena D159 data.
Mokena D159 Superintendent Mark Cohen was not immediately available for comment.