District shares COVID-19 close contact quarantine updates

District shares COVID-19 close contact quarantine updates

District 58 is happy to report that full day instruction is going very well so far! Thank you, District 58 community, for your support and partnership.

As families know, District 58 follows the Illinois Department of Public Health's (IDPH) COVID-19 safety guidance for schools. Last month, the IDPH, in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education, updated its school safety guidance to permit schools to space students 3-6 feet apart. Although District 58 aims to space students at least 6 feet apart when possible, there are classrooms where students are 3-6 feet apart. Similarly, some bus riders are seated closer than 6 feet.

Although students can sit 3-6 feet apart, the IDPH's definition of a close contact has not changed. Any student who is within 6 feet of a positive COVID case for at least 15 minutes over a period of 24 hours is considered a close contact and must quarantine for 10-14 days. This is required regardless of whether a student is wearing a mask or not. A quarantined student may return after 10 days if:

  • No COVID-19 symptoms have developed and if
  • The individual takes a PCR COVID-19 test on Day 6 or later and that test result is negative and if
  • The individual can maintain 6 feet of social distancing and masking at all times when returning to school.

In classrooms where space requires 3-6 feet of distance, principals will try to create an alternative classroom configuration that would allow the student to return after 10 days of quarantine. Regrettably, there may be times when it is not possible and in those instances, principals will work with families to ensure students can continue to learn while at home for the full 14 day quarantine.

Relatedly, the Health Department provided updated guidance regarding close contacts to suspected positive COVID-19 cases. Previously, if a student displayed a COVID-19 symptom while at school or on the bus, all close contacts were required to quarantine until the original student received an alternative diagnosis or negative test. Starting immediately, the Health Department recommends District 58 screen symptomatic students by asking their family the following:

"Has the student been within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period within the last 14 days of someone who has since tested positive for COVID-19?"

If the family answers "yes," then any students who were close contacts will be required to start a 10-14-day quarantine, unless the original student presents a negative COVID-19 test or alternative diagnosis.

If the family answers "no," then any students who were close contacts will not be required to quarantine unless the original student tests positive. (Household members will still be required to quarantine).

For more information regarding COVID-19 and District 58, please visit our District 58 COVID-19 Resource Guide.