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August 16, 2021

SCHOOL YEAR 2021-2022 COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR SD73.5


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We are so looking forward to welcoming 100 percent of our students back to school. The district began preparing for the start of school with a committee consisting of district administrators, school administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals. We focused our efforts on ensuring our students would feel welcomed and safe upon their return to school.  

As a reminder, our 1st- through 8th-grade students at Middleton and McCracken will return to school full-day on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Meyer Kindergarten students will begin full-day instruction on Thursday, August 26, 2021.  Meyer Preschool students will begin on Monday, August 30, 2021.   

This year, we will resume our normal schedule with full-day instruction Monday through Friday. Our students will have early dismissal on Tuesdays for teacher and staff meetings.

All students and adults must wear masks indoors.

Under a new mandate, per Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order, Illinois students and school staff in K-12 and early childhood care centers will be required to wear masks indoors. The mask is required for vaccinated and unvaccinated adults and children. In addition, students arriving at school must wear their masks as they wait to enter the school building due to the potential for close contact with peers.

Definition of a Close Contact

For all individuals where exposure occurred outside of the classroom setting and for adults in the indoor PK-12 classroom setting, CDC defines a close contact as an individual not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Families, we ask that you work with your child(ren) on how to wear a mask prior to the start of school. Here is a video to assist you. We will also teach and monitor students’ mask-wearing.

Students riding the bus to school and/or home will be required to wear a mask, in accordance with federal laws. They will also be asked to provide proof of student vaccination verification of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Checking for symptoms before sending your child to school

Parents and Guardians, the first step to keeping our students safe and healthy are to only send students to school if they are well and not showing any symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus.

When students arrive at school, our parents and guardians are attesting that they have monitored their student’s health. This means their student did not have any of the following symptoms:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills

If your child has any of the above symptoms, they should not come to school. We strongly recommend you take your child to get a COVID-19 test. Please reference the Parent Handbook or the Parent Letter for appropriate steps to notify your child’s school of an absence.

Who Should Get Tested

The following people should get tested for COVID-19:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
    • People who are fully vaccinated should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine and be tested immediately after being identified, and, if negative, tested again in 5–7 days after last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop during quarantine.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who are prioritized for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
  • People not fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine who have been asked or referred to get testing by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.
     
SHIELD Testing

Skokie Health Department recommended Skokie school districts offer COVID 19 testing. We are working with SHIELD Illinois to offer weekly screening testing of vaccinated and unvaccinated students as a strategy to reduce transmission. Students in sports and band will be screened twice a week. We are tentatively scheduled to begin testing on September 8th. Families will receive more information soon. We hope all of our families will allow their children to participate in this program.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. According to the CDC, recent evidence indicates that up to 25 percent of people with COVID-19 infection may not have symptoms and can still spread the disease. Therefore, it is very important that you stay home after testing positive, even if you feel well. The CDC is also reporting that symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. For these reasons, we strongly recommend all of our families to participate in the SHIELD program.



For students in the classroom setting

Contacts who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student do not require quarantine as long as both the case and the contact were consistently masked. 

  • If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within 6 feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  • PHOTO: McCracken Lunch SetupOur students will remove their masks while eating their lunch. As a safety precaution, students will be sitting 3 feet apart. For an added safety measure, the lunchroom tables will have plexiglass partitions separating our students. This will allow them to eat their lunch while talking to their peers. Without the threat of being in close contact. Once they have finished eating, students will put their masks back on.
  • The longer a person is exposed to an infected person, the higher the risk of exposure or transmission. 
  • The infectious period of close contact begins two calendar days before the onset of symptoms (for a symptomatic person) or two calendar days before the positive sample was obtained (for an asymptomatic person).
  • If the case was symptomatic (e.g., coughing, sneezing), persons with briefer periods of exposure may also be considered contacts, as determined by local health departments.
  • Persons who have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days or those fully vaccinated, according to CDC guidelines, are not required to quarantine if identified as close contact to a confirmed case.
  • Local health departments are the final authority on identifying close contacts.
     
For students in the outdoor setting

In general, individuals who are solely exposed to a confirmed case while outdoors should not be considered close contacts. Our students will remove their masks while at outdoor recess, as long as they can maintain social distancing. When students line up to enter the building, they will put on their masks to mitigate the issue of close contact.

Cleaning protocols

The district is following the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting, which notes ordinary daily cleaning of school facilities is sufficient while disinfecting procedures should be used when a diagnosed case of COVID-19 occurs.

Remote Learning will only be an option for students if they are required to quarantine.


 

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