One of the safest places to avoid catching COVID-19 is apparently in a school in Evanston/Skokie District 65, at least so far in the current academic year.

Assistant Superintendent Romy DeCristofaro told a Board of Education committee on Monday, “We don’t have any confirmed cases that have been linked back to the schools.”

As of Tuesday, Oct. 5, the District 65 COVID dashboard shows a total of 39 students have had the virus since school began in August, out of more than 6,500 enrolled in grades K-8.

DeCristofaro also said the district began rolling out COVID testing for students last week, and those saliva tests “yielded some positive results over the weekend, so it’s working.”

The dashboard also indicates only four staff members have contracted COVID.

COVID vaccinations are required for school employees unless they receive an approved medical or religious exemption.

The majority of District 65 students are not vaccinated, as only those 12 and older are eligible for the shots.

So with very few student cases, the district’s mitigation efforts, including mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing and holding events like lunch outdoor events whenever possible, seem to be working.

Superintendent Devon Horton thanked the various employee groups for “a collective effort.”

Horton added, “As I listen to horror stories from other superintendents, and what I’m hearing across the state and across the country, I don’t want to jinx it, but we’re doing really well in the area of keeping schools safe from COVID.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.