January 12, 2022
Dear Palos 118 Families,
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have issued new Isolation and Quarantine Guidance to shorten the isolation and quarantine periods for K-12 schools. Palos 118 will implement this updated guidance immediately and work with students and staff who are currently in quarantine or isolation to issue revised return to school dates.
The new guidance utilizes the terms "quarantine" and "isolation" throughout. Under the new guidance, "quarantine" means to separate and restrict the movement of people who were exposed to someone with COVID-19. "Isolation," as defined under the new guidance, means to separate, and restrict the movement of people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19.
The updated guidance does not change the State of Illinois mask requirement for anyone inside school buildings. The Governor's indoor mask mandate for schools is still in effect until further notice.
You can read the Governor's Executive Order dated 1/11/22 here.
Our school nurses will continue to notify families of return to school dates based on their child's specific circumstances. Below is a summary of the key changes to school district procedures based on the updated guidance.
For COVID-19 positive students:
- Isolate for a full 5 days. Students may return to school on calendar day six if asymptomatic, and/or if fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved.
- Upon return from isolation, school staff and/or school nurses will assess students for symptoms.
- Strict adherence to mask wearing will be enforced between days six and ten.
If a vaccinated student is determined to be a close contact:
- No exclusion from school is required if the student remains asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated student is determined to be a close contact:
- Asymptomatic students may participate in the school district's Test to Stay program if the close contact is NOT a household close contact.
- Students not participating in the Test to Stay program must be excluded from school for a full 5 days.
- Students will be tested for COVID-19 upon return.
Schools will be reaching out to families with children currently excluded from school to provide updated return to school dates based on the new guidance.
To report positive cases for students, or in the household of students, or other close contact exposures please use the Self-Reporting Form located here.
Thank you for your continued partnership as we implement this new guidance. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact your school nurse or Justin Veihman, Chief School Business Official, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Anthony Scarsella
Superintendent of Schools