Health and Safety FAQs
What if someone exhibits COVID symptoms while at school?
The health office will evaluate that person following this IDPH guide. The person will be sent home if presenting new symptoms.
What if the symptoms might be unrelated to COVID?
Anyone with any COVID symptoms will be evaluated.
If the symptoms are not new (such as from a condition already known to the school), then that person will usually not be sent home for COVID. He or she might be sent home for other health reasons, and can return when they recover.
If, however, the symptoms are new, then they will be sent home even if there might be another cause besides COVID.
How long must someone with COVID symptoms remain out of school?
How long someone with COVID symptoms is out of school depends on testing and other events.
The school will apply columns B, C or D on this IDPH guide to determine when his or her return to school is safe.
Without a negative COVID test or an alternate medical diagnosis, anyone with COVID symptoms will usually be out at least 10 days.
What happens when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
Anyone who tests positive for COVID must immediately notify the school and stay out of school for at least 10 days. Others who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID have to remain out of school, too.
The school and health department will apply column A on the IDPH guide to determine when it is safe for anyone who tests positive for COVID to return to school. It will use column E on the IDPH guide to determine when close contacts can return.
Can students attend school if someone in their class (or on their bus) tests positive for COVID?
Yes, unless they are told otherwise by the local health department or the school.
Classrooms (and buses) are arranged with at least 6 feet between students. According to the local health department, students or teachers who maintain the 6-foot distance will not be excluded from school if a positive case occurs in the classroom or bus.
Brief interactions that are closer than 6 feet but that accumulate to less than 15 minutes will also not cause exclusion, according to the health department.
A second case in the same classroom or bus within two weeks may be treated differently pending a local health department investigation.
Who should stay home if someone in a classroom tests positive for COVID?
The school or the local health department will notify the “close contacts” to stay home. These are persons who spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of the person who tested positive for COVID. These persons should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to the individual who tested positive. The school and health department will apply column E on the IDPH guide to determine when their return to school is safe.
The health department will ask the District who spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of the person who tested positive for COVID. The District will review bus and classroom information to provide the health department with this information.
What if a classmate has to stay home because a member of his/her household tested positive for COVID?
Contacts of that student are not restricted, because they are not “close contacts.” So, if a healthy student or staff member stays home because of a positive case in his/her household, his/her contacts (such as in a classroom or on a bus) can still come to school.
How will the school know who was in “close contact” with someone who tested positive for COVID?
Close contact means closer than 6 feet for at least 15 minutes during the day. The school will review classroom charts, bus information, and other sources to make this determination.
What if I was in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, but it was not “close contact?”
No COVID limits apply to you. You might not even hear about the case from the health department or school, because you were not a close contact.
If you think you were a close contact, call the school to explain your situation.
Who informs those determined to have been close contacts with someone who tested positive for COVID?
The local health department with assistance from the school.
What if I don’t hear from the school or health department about another person’s positive COVID test that might affect me?
You may come to school, because you are not considered a close contact. If you think you were a close contact, call the school to explain your situation.
When will the District tell us about positive COVID cases in the school?
After all close contacts are informed, the District will notify the rest of the school. The notice will not, for privacy reasons, disclose the name or other characteristics of the person who tested positive.
How will the District use the certification given by parents each day?
No matter what certification is received that day, staff who notice symptoms will refer students to the health office for evaluation.
Self-certification is a privilege that can be revoked. The District will frequently remind parents about how to certify and why it is important.
What are the cleaning and sanitation procedures for classrooms, washrooms, and other areas of the school during in-person instruction?
All District 2 cleaning, disinfecting and ventilation practices follow procedures and expectations aligned with ISBE, IDPH and DCHD guidelines.
EPA-approved disinfecting products will be used to disinfect hard surfaces throughout the day and after school. Restrooms will be regularly disinfected by custodial staff, and high-touch areas will be disinfected throughout the day by custodial staff. As necessary, desks will be cleaned with soap and water after certain activities, and schools will discourage the use of items that are difficult to clean.
Hand hygiene practices such as handwashing and/or sanitizing during key times each day will be promoted. Hand sanitizers will be made available throughout each building; students and staff with sensitive skin reactions to hand sanitizer can use soap and water.
Students’ use of the restroom will be closely supervised to avoid gatherings, and drinking fountains will also be shut down, and touch-less filtered water bottle fillers will be available and cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.
Have there been any changes to enhance the ventilation systems in school buildings?
All building HVAC systems have operated under normal schedules since August 3 to ensure good airflow and proper operation of all systems. Additionally, we have changed all filters, installing more effective filters when possible, and we have cleaned the coils, drains, and interiors of all air handling units and unit ventilators.
Before staff and students return to school, there will be a complete, 100 percent HVAC outdoor air building flush, and to maximize dilution of the return air, intake of outdoor air ventilation rates will be increased.
How will outdoor spaces be utilized?
PE will be outside when weather permits, and, whenever possible and instructionally appropriate, other teachers will be encouraged to use outdoor learning spaces to allow for increased movement for students.
At the direction of each school principal, schoolwide processes and procedures for conducting outdoor learning will be in place and observed to ensure safety and adequate social distancing while outside. Principals and staff will also identify designated times within the school schedule for students to go outside (weather permitting) to have a “mask break.”