As we transition back to in-person learning, we would like to review our current COVID protocols. The information listed below explains how the district handles positive cases, close contacts, and symptomatic individuals. It also provides information for those who have already tested positive for COVID-19. Please note that this virus is still new and information changes continuously. We will update the information as new guidance becomes available.
Following these protocols is essential to maintaining in-person learning in our community, and we appreciate our families’ commitment and cooperation in making decisions that will protect our school community.
Daily screening is a critical part of our safety protocol. Students and staff may not come to school if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
Students and Staff must stay home if ONE of the following symptoms is present:
Symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- New cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Muscle Aches or body aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea over the last 24 hours
- New loss of taste or smell
- Unexplained fatigue
- New or unusual headache
- Congestion or runny nose
- Abdominal pain with unknown cause
Please note: If one sibling/ family member has a symptom of COVID-19, then all siblings/family members must remain home.
Students or staff members who exhibit any of the above symptoms will not be permitted to return to school and should consult with their health care provider. Household members of the symptomatic students are also not permitted in the school building and must remain out of the building until an alternative diagnosis is made, a negative test result is provided to the school (must be a RT-PCR Test), or the quarantine requirements set forth below are satisfied.
SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS : Return to School/Work Guidelines (Note: these guidelines are for both staff and students)
If not tested for COVID-19:
- Stay home for 10 calendar days from the onset of symptoms and for 24 hours fever free without the use of fever reducing medication; OR
- Stay home until symptoms have improved and fever free for 24 hours and a doctor’s note providing an alternative diagnosis.
If tested for COVID-19
- Stay home for 10 calendar days from the onset of symptoms and for 24 hours fever free without the use of fever reducing medication.
- Negative RT-PCR COVID test with a copy of the results. Note that the test must be performed 48 hours after symptom onset.
Quarantine Procedures for those Symptomatic vs. those identified as a “Close Contact”
- Positive Case or Symptomatic: The infectious period (the time frame when someone can transmit the virus to others) begins two days prior to the first onset of symptoms or positive test and for ten days after. Therefore, an individual exhibiting symptoms or having a positive COVID test, must be home for a minimum of 10 days after the first onset of symptoms. If symptoms persist, then this time frame extends until symptoms improve and fever free (without fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours.
- Close Contacts: The incubation period (the time from when a person is exposed to when they can develop symptoms) is 14 days. Therefore, if a person is a close contact (defined as anyone who has been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for greater than 15 minutes, cumulative, in one day), should quarantine for 14 days. The CDC now allows close contacts to follow an alternative from the 14-day time frame if they choose to.
- CDC recommends the following alternative options to a 14-day quarantine:
- Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
- When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available (see bullet 3, below), then quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. This option is not available/recommended for children in daycares or K-12 schools.
- Persons can discontinue quarantine at these time points only if the following criteria are also met:
- No clinical evidence of COVID-19 has been elicited by daily symptom monitoring during the entirety of quarantine up to the time at which quarantine is discontinued; and,
- Daily symptom monitoring continues through quarantine Day 14; and,
- Persons are counseled regarding the need to adhere strictly through quarantine Day 14 to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs±, a.k.a. mitigation strategies), especially. They should be advised that if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status.
- Persons can continue to be quarantined for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present.
These recommendations for quarantine options shorter than 14 days balance reduced burden against a small but non-zero risk of post-quarantine infection that is informed by new and emerging science.
- Change in status: If a person is in quarantine and develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID, then they need to remain home for a minimum of 10 days from first onset of symptoms.
- If one person within the household is awaiting COVID results, then all household members must remain home until the results are received.
- CCDPH requires a negative RT-PCR test to return. If there is a negative rapid test, it must be confirmed with a RT-PCR.
- Families who travel out of state or country need to adhere to the travel advisory for Cook County: 10-day quarantine.
IDPH Recommendations for someone who has previously tested positive for COVID-19
For those who have had prior diagnoses of COVID-19 confirmed by viral testing (not antibody testing) within 3 months, isolation and quarantine may not be needed. Please refer to the table below:
Status of Previous COVID-Positive Individual
Less than 90 days (3 months) from last Positive Test
Greater than 90 days (3 months) from last Positive Test
Refer for clinical evaluation if COVID-like symptoms are present?
Repeat COVID-19 test if COVID-like symptoms are present?
Healthcare Providers may decide to test based on clinical assessment.
Exclude from school if COVID-like symptoms are present?
Yes, stay home until symptoms have improved/resolved, and note from health care provider indicating alternate diagnosis.
If COVID test positive: see quarantine information above.
If COVID test negative: stay home until symptoms have resolved per return to school-criteria for diagnosed condition.
Place in quarantine (for 14 calendar days) if named as a close contact to a known case of COVID-19?
- If someone has tested positive for COVID-19, there are 90 days where they are considered to have some “immunity.” These individuals will not need to quarantine if in close contact with a positive case.
- If someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms during the 90-day time frame, they should remain home until symptoms improve. However, they do not need to be retested for COVID-19 and do not need to remain home for the 10 days. Siblings can attend school if they themselves are not experiencing symptoms.
- Proof of a positive test must be documented with the school nurse. A diagnostic test is required. Antibody tests are NOT accepted.