Back to School 2021 Health Protocols
Health Protocols • (Haga clic aquí para ver la versión en español)
In planning for the safety and health of students and staff, the following District protocols for returning to school will be followed. Students will also be given school specific instructions for maximizing the health and safety of all students upon return to the classrooms. Protocols and school procedures may be revised throughout the school year as health risks in our community decrease or increase. The following protocols are in place for all staff and students whether vaccinated or unvaccinated.
If you’re sick, stay home
Staff and students should not enter campuses or district buildings if any of the following apply. The individual:
- Is sick with symptoms that could be COVID-19. Symptoms to watch for: 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 taste or smell, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches from unknown cause.
- Has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or an unvaccinated individual has been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19. These individuals must follow all isolation and quarantine guidelines from the local health authority or physician.
- Has a household member who has symptoms of COVID-19, is awaiting COVID-19 test results, or who is awaiting their own test results.
District 200 will be following CDC recommendations for International Travel:
Recommendations for Unvaccinated Individuals:
- Get tested 3-5 days after travel, stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days. Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days. Prior to returning to school or work please notify your School Nurse.
- If your test is positive, stay home and isolate yourself for at least 10 calendar days from either onset of symptoms or specimen collection date, and 24 hours with no fever. These measures will protect others from getting infected. Prior to returning to school or work, notify your School Nurse.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Prior to returning to school or work, notify your School Nurse.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals:
- Get tested 3-5 days after travel.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms and notify your School Nurse.
COVID-19 Symptom Screening Certification
To ensure student and staff safety, the District is requiring all parents to screen their students prior to sending them to school. Each semester, parents will be required to complete a screening application to certify that they will assess their children daily for symptoms of COVID-19. This form will be provided through the PowerSchool Parent Portal. An email reminder will be sent to you at the start of each semester with a link to the Portal. Please fill out one form per student attending a District 200 School.
Parents/guardians are required to inform the school of their student’s absence. In order to monitor illness trends and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is imperative that the school is notified if your student has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
If your student has an unexcused absence, the school will be sending an automated message to parents/guardians daily at 12:30 p.m. The school must receive a return phone call the same day with a reason for your student’s absence in order to attend school the following day.
Wear a face covering
All individuals in school buildings must wear face coverings at all times unless they are younger than 2 years of age, are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
Face coverings must be worn at all times in school buildings even when social distancing is maintained. Fabric masks with two or more layers must fit snugly on the face without gaps and cover both mouth and nose. Gaiters, face shields, and masks with valves will not be allowed. Students are encouraged to bring two face coverings to school each day. For more guidance on face coverings please see D200 Face Covering Guidelines.
Wash your hands often
You can help yourself stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Entry into the school building (use hand sanitizer) – all students will sanitize their hands upon arrival to school.
- Before entering the health or main office (use hand sanitizer)
- Before entering the LRC (if space is being used in your building for students)
- After using the bathroom (wash hands)
- Before eating (washing hands with soap and water is preferred, hand sanitizer is approved as well) — all students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before meals and snacks at school.
- Before, after, and during food preparation (food service, culinary classes) (wash hands)
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (wash hands or use hand sanitizer)
- Hand sanitizer will be available at every school and accessible throughout the building.
Breakfast and Lunch for Students
Students will be 3-6 feet apart as space is available. The food service tables will be cleaned and disinfected per standard protocols. Face covering storage is available for students to use during meal periods and during outdoor face covering breaks.
Classrooms and restrooms will be cleaned nightly with added attention to high touch surfaces using microfiber surface cleaning systems. Soap and paper products in restrooms will be checked on a regular basis for added hand washing. Drinking fountains will be out of service. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Sensor activated water bottle filling stations will be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.
Schools will maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms combined with universal masking to reduce transmission risk.
- Students in Life Skills Classrooms, Target classrooms or any other programs in the district who cannot wear a face covering due to medical reasons should remain 6 feet apart at all times.
Health Office Isolation/Contact Tracing Protocols
- Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 (cases) and people who they came in contact with (close contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. In Illinois, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine is required per Part 690 Control of Communicable Disease Code, Subpart 1. Further, the Communicable Disease Code also requires mandatory reporting of any suspect, confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 to the local health department immediately (within 3 hours).
- Fully vaccinated persons who remain asymptomatic and those with documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days are excluded from quarantine.
- For individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the school nurse will provide a clinical assessment in an isolation space separate from the area used to see students who are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. If a student has one or more symptoms of COVID-19, the student will be sent home. Individuals displaying COVID-19 symptoms will follow the District 200 School Exclusion protocols.
- Students who are ill will be separated from their peers and should be picked up within 30 minutes from the time the campus has contacted the parent/guardian.
- Other students will be removed from the classroom and taken to an alternate location on campus (go on a walk outside, move to a different classroom, etc) so that the classroom surfaces can be cleaned.
- If an individual who has been in a school is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 and additional school exposures have occurred as a result of the positive case, the school must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Schools may have to close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until those areas have been cleaned and sanitized.
- District communication will be provided to the individuals who came within close contact with a student or staff member with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result. Additional communication will be shared with the entire campus community.
- Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be permitted to return to school when:
- 10 days have passed since symptoms began and
- They are 24 hours fever-free without using fever-reducing medication; and
- Improved symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing, etc.); and
- Other criteria is met per the District 200 School Exclusion Chart
- If a student or staff member has symptoms of COVID-19 and wants to return to school prior to meeting the above criteria, they must obtain a physician’s note clearing them for return based on an alternative diagnosis with no clinical suspicion for COVID 19 or receive a negative COVID-19 test.
In the event that you are contacted by McHenry County Department of Health officials following the results of a positive COVID-19 test or close contact to a confirmed case, please cooperate with that process. Identifying potential contacts and effective quarantine/isolation procedures are critical to containing the spread of the virus in our community.
School Health Office Changes
There will be separate areas created in our health clinics – one for regular care and an isolated area for anyone who presents signs or symptoms of illness. If you receive notification that your student was placed in the isolation area, please pick your student up within 30 minutes of the phone call.
Due to restrictions on visitor policies, parents will no longer be allowed to bring medications into the health clinics. If you need to provide medication for your child, a nurse will meet you in a designated area.
Please reach out to your school nurse if you have specific concerns regarding your child’s medical care.
School Bus Health Protocols
Although the district is implementing safety protocols and disinfecting efforts, families are encouraged to drop students off, carpool or walk with their students to school to reduce possible exposure on buses.
- Drivers and students are required to wear face coverings while on the bus.
- Buses will be disinfected.
- Students will have assigned seats. This is important in the event that there is a positive case as it will support contact tracing and notification to families.
- Students are expected to practice social distancing while waiting for and approaching the school bus.
- Students will be seated starting from the back seats, then toward the front
- Students will unload at the school from the front of the bus to the back.
All water fountains have been disabled. Water bottle filling stations have been added where possible. Please send your student to school with a refillable water bottle. At the middle school and high school please send your child to school with a clear refillable water bottle.
Individuals 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are in need of information to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit this page: community vaccination resources.
We are increasing our air flow system in all of our buildings for increased ventilation. Prior to the pandemic, we ran the systems roughly from start bell to stop bell. During the pandemic, we ran the systems additional hours before and after school. This year, we will run the systems 24 hours a day to provide for increased fresh air, increased ventilation and increased air changes in our buildings.