COVID-19 Interim Exclusion Guidance for Schools

Decision Tree for Excluding Symptomatic Individuals from Pre-K, K-12 Schools and Day Care Programs

Exclude if ANY of the following symptoms are present: Fever (100.4°F or higher), new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste or smell, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches from unknown cause.

School health officials should exclude when suspicion of COVID is high due to other symptoms.

Testing is Strongly Recommended for ALL Persons with COVID-19-Like Symptoms, Regardless of Vaccination Status.

Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People given new evident on the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant currently circulating in the United States.   In summary, CDC recommends that unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.  CDC also recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Quarantine Guidance

On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new options for public health authorities to consider for establishing quarantine time frames for contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2. Click here to review the full details on these new options.

The CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. Further, local public health authorities determine and establish quarantine options for their jurisdictions and may decide to continue using a 14-day period and/or shortened options for certain lower risk close contacts. However, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives:

Violence Prevention and Support Resources

Sharing resources with everyone helps prevent violence in our communities

Mental health and crisis support

Illinois Call4Calm Text Line (24/7)

If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish (Message and Data Rates May Apply. See Terms and Conditions of Use). People seeking assistance remain anonymous and provide only their first name and ZIP code, which enables the service to link them to a counselor in the area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.

Halloween Guidance

As we enter fall, families are starting to plan for the upcoming holiday season, starting with Halloween. Because some of the traditional ways to celebrate this holiday do not allow for proper social distancing, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is providing the following guidance to allow for safe Halloween celebrations. Trick-or-treating events need to incorporate social distancing, masking, and proper handwashing, as well as adherence to event size limitations. For this year, it would be safest to plan special events at home, using social media and other meeting platforms to connect with family and friends.

Music Guidance

It is important to take extra precautions when participating in musical activities, especially if they involve vocalists and wind instrument musicians who are not yet vaccinated. Singing and instrumental music produced by woodwind or brass instruments are thought to be higher-risk activities for COVID-19 spread due to the aggressive expelling of respiratory droplets. Measures to reduce the potential risk of transmission include organizing sessions to minimize duration of interactions and contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, maintaining physical distancing of at least 3 feet, utilizing face coverings and masks, and optimizing ventilation. The following recommendations are based on the latest science around current aerosol studies and represent best practices for preventing COVID-19 transmission among faculty, students, and staff engaged in music.

Child Face Coverings in Schools

Guidance for Evaluating a Child’s Medical Tolerance for use of Face Coverings in Schools

As schools consider whether and how to safely re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic, school physicals are an opportunity to assess whether a student is able to medically tolerate the use of a face covering. There are currently many questions regarding the criteria used by pediatric providers to determine whether a child is able to medically tolerate the use of a face covering. In reviewing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the American Lung Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatric providers may determine a child is medically unable to tolerate a face covering for the following main reasons:

COVID-19 School Guidance FAQs

The state of Illinois has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) updated Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have issued Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools that applies to all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (P-12). The joint guidance is based on updated CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention and the State of Illinois Executive Orders.

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