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Updated IDPH Isolation and Quarantine Requirements

January 11, 2022

Dear District 31 Community,

This evening, the Illinois Department of Public Health released their guidance that aligns with the new CDC guidance. This guidance states that the isolation and quarantine period for students and staff members with Covid-19 or those considered a close contact may be reduced to five days if asymptomatic.  Please be aware that some of the information may continue to evolve and is subject to change.

Below are the procedural changes that will go into effect on Wednesday, January 12

Chart from ISBE: Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools

If you test positive for COVID-19 (exclusion)

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must do the following: 

  • Stay home for a minimum of five days and a maximum of 10 days after the first day of symptoms or the specimen collection date from positive viral test for asymptomatic persons.
  • Continue to wear a mask around others for five more days after returning to school. Individuals may return to school after five days if asymptomatic or if fever-free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved. 

Be aware that your clinical provider may determine that you need a longer period of isolation based on certain underlying clinical conditions such as a weakened immune system

If you have COVID-19- like symptoms (exclusion)

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must immediately be excluded from school until: 

  • Receiving a negative test result that confirms the symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19; or 
  • For a minimum of five days and a maximum of 10 days until fever free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved. 

Individuals must continue to wear a mask around others for five more days after returning to school. 

Those testing positive should be excluded from school and follow guidance for persons testing positive.

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have no COVID-19-like symptoms (exclusion)

The following people are close contacts* who must be excluded from school: 

  • Students and staff who are not fully vaccinated (completed primary series). 
  • Students and staff aged 18 years and older who have received primary COVID-19 vaccine doses but have not received a booster dose when eligible (“unboosted”).

As an alternative to exclusion for individuals who are close contacts, schools may permit close contacts without symptoms of COVID-19 who were exposed in the school setting during the school day (excludes extracurricular activities) to remain in school through Test to Stay.

Individuals without symptoms of COVID-19 who are not participating in Test to Stay: 

  • Must stay home for five days after the last contact with the person who has COVID-19; 
  • Must wear a mask around others for five additional days and remain asymptomatic; and
  • Should test for COVID-19 on day five. Those testing positive should be excluded from school and follow guidance for persons testing positive.

Note from District 31:  Please communicate with the school nurse the negative test result or arrange with the nurses to take a test prior to reentry.

Please note that in order to calculate a 5-day or 10-day quarantine or isolation period, Day 0 is the first day of symptoms, contact with a Covid positive person, or date of collection. Please consult your school nurse to confirm the quarantine/isolation period.

Students and staff who are currently impacted by a quarantine or isolation have a revised return to school date if your child is asymptomatic.  

If a student or staff member tested positive or first had symptoms on the following date:

Note:  This also includes unvaccinated students who are quarantining at home because of a close contact

The new return to school date is the following:

Thursday, 1/6

Wednesday, 1/12

Friday, 1/7 

Thursday, 1/13

Saturday 1/8

Friday, 1/14

Sunday, 1/9

Monday, 1/10

Tuesday, 1/11

Tuesday, 1/18 (No School 1/17)

Any date prior to 1/6/2022 may return on Wednesday, 1/12/2022

The date above is ONLY if a person is fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved. Do NOT send your child to school ill. If symptoms have not improved, continue to quarantine.

Due to the late arrival of the ISBE communication, we were unable to contact individual families.  If you have any questions, please reach out to the nurse. Please also note that the guidance contains additional updates about close contacts, sports, etc. Additional information will be shared as soon as possible. And, as a reminder, the best way to minimize your child’s quarantine requirements, and ensure their safety, is to get them vaccinated. Please stay tuned for additional information about booster opportunities and the new Ravinia Health testing opportunity that begins this week.

Sincerely,

Dr. Erin K. Murphy
Superintendent

 




What does this mean if my child is currently home because of a positive test?

  • If your child tested positive from a test administered on Thursday, January 6 or earlier, your child may return to school on Wednesday, January 12 if they following is true:
    • Your child is asymptomatic OR your child has been fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.  Please remember, if your child is not feeling well, they need to stay home.
    • Your child is consistently wearing a well-fitting mask in all settings.

What does this mean if my child is home because they are currently a close contact?**

  • If your child’s last contact with a Covid positive individual was on Thursday, January 6 or earlier, they can return to school on Wednesday, January 12 if the following is true:
    • Your child is asymptomatic.
    • Your child has tested negative on a PCR test no sooner than Day 5 OR they tested negative on a Bianex Now (pending availability of tests) test in the school office before attending classes.
    • Your child is consistently wearing a well-fitting mask in all settings.

**Note - Only unvaccinated students are considered close contacts and required to stay home.  If the contact stems from a school contact may enact test-to-stay protocols as appropriate.  Test to stay protocols are not available for home based or outside of school contacts.


If your child is vaccinated, please ensure you have submitted a picture of your child’s vaccination card to the nurse.  

 

In addition, District 31 is expanding the opportunities for free PCR testing for all students:

  • We will be continuing our weekly Shield testing, which is a PCR saliva test.  Winkelman students test on Wednesday at school (PM preschool students and Field students have samples collected on Tuesday afternoon).  All students are currently opted into weekly Shield testing, regardless of their vaccination status, unless a parent opts them out by emailing the school nurse.
  • We will introduce a second weekly PCR test through Ravinia Health. On Thursday we will send home a home collection kit that can be used to collect a nasal or cheek swab.  Once the parent has collected the sample they will put the swab in the enclosed vial, cap it, and put the entire vial in the provided bag.  Specific directions will be included. This kit will be brought back to school on Friday and they will be shipped out for results Friday afternoon.  If a student is opted out for Shield testing, they will be considered opted out for Ravinia Health care and will not receive a kit.   Results are generally available in 24-48 hours.  
  • If your child is opted into testing, than the Ravinia Health home kit is available for the following purposes:
    • A second weekly screening test (with Shield Illinois being the first PCR opportunity).
    • A test that would be available on Mondays and Fridays if your child was ill and needed a PCR test to return to school.  

And, as a reminder, the best way to minimize your child’s quarantine requirements, and ensure their safety, is to get them vaccinated.

Positive Covid Cases

  • Staff or students who test positive for Covid-19, regardless of vaccination status should isolate for 5 days after the onset of symptoms, or 5 days from specimen collection date if no symptoms are present.  To calculate the 5-day isolation period, Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the specimen collection date (if asymptomatic).
    • Staff or students must be fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms must be improving to be released from isolation after 5 days.   Please note that if kids are not feeling well they should stay home.
    • Staff or students must wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.

Close Contact to a Positive Case

  • Staff or students who are unvaccinated or staff who are not boosted who are close contacts to a positive Covid individual must quarantine for at least 5 days. To calculate the 5-day quarantine period, Day 0 is the last day of contact with the Covid positive individual. 
    • If symptoms begin, the individual should isolate and must obtain a PCR Covid-19 test to return to school.
    • Vaccinated individuals DO NOT need to quarantine.  They should monitor symptoms and test on day 5, if possible.