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Local News

Officials monitor COVID-19 data in Frankfort after substitute prom in Indiana

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Health officials are monitoring coronavirus rates in the Frankfort area after high school students reportedly held a prom last week in Indiana.

In the spring, when a group of Lincoln-Way East students decided to host a private prom, school administrators discouraged them from doing so.

But a prom was recently held anyway in Indiana, said Jennifer Hannon, director of community relations at Lincoln-Way School District 210.

A GoFundMe page for the prom raised $9,310.

The biggest concern is the rise in coronavirus cases in the Frankfort area.

The Will County Health Department Facebook page listed 250 cases of the virus in the Frankfort ZIP code 60423 as of Tuesday. On July 1, there were 201 cases, and 237 cases July 24.

Steve Brandy, spokesman for the Will County Health Department, said the health department is looking into the situation and watching those numbers.

Although Brandy didn’t have specific information on the prom, he said the health department is concerned about people crossing state lines to attend events during the pandemic.

“It’s becoming a dangerous situation,” he said.

Brandy understands people occasionally need reminders about the importance of safety measures during the pandemic, to practice social distancing and wear face masks.

“And now we need to remind them about being more careful when they travel,” Brandy said.

R. Scott Tingley, Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 superintendent, said his administration tried discouraging organizers from planning a private prom and that the district was “in no way” affiliated with it.

“We don’t condone that type of behavior,” Tingley said. “It was a poor decision, but nothing the district was involved in. It certainly did not adhere to guidelines set forth by the state of Illinois Phase 4.”

Tingley said at the time District 210 canceled prom, the maximum number allowed at get-togethers in Illinois was 10.

“We’re just now up to 50,” Tingley said. “Our graduating classes, all three of them, are 500 or higher.”

The biggest concern for the district regarding large gatherings is the fall semester.

Tingley said District 210 is hoping to provide in-person instruction to the students this fall with a hybrid model: Half the students will attend on “A” day and half on “B” day.

Everyone would social distance and wear face masks, he said.

“And when an event like this [prom] occurs that may have an impact on the infectious rate, it impacts our ability to educate our students,” Tingley said.

For the fall semester, families may also choose a fully remote option, Tingley said.

The district also plans to monitor the area’s infection rate. If an increase is seen, the district might go completely remote, he said.

“If the state or the governor or IDPH or the Illinois Board of Education provided additional guidance, that would cause us to move to remote learning,” Tingley said.

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