The Illinois Department of Public Health has released new COVID-19 guidance for schools. This new guidance will require Illini Central to change some of our responses to close contact cases. The following required changes will be implemented immediately:
In the lunchroom, close contact is defined as any unvaccinated person who is within 6 feet of a confirmed positive COVID case for 15 minutes or more. The test-to-stay option is no longer available for individuals who are deemed a close contact from the lunch room as the students are unmasked during that time. This means that if a student is deemed a close contact resulting from interaction in the cafeteria, the student will be excluded from school following the IDPH guidelines.
An unvaccinated student or staff member who is deemed to be a close contact will be excluded from school for 10 calendar days after the close contact’s last exposure to the positive case.
An unvaccinated student or staff member who are deemed to be a close contact may be excluded for only seven days if:
No symptoms developed during daily monitoring AND the individual has a negative SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test (PCR) that was collected within 48 hours of exposure day 7(starting on day 6 or after).
Individuals who are fully vaccinated or who tested positive for COVID-19 within the prior 90 days and are currently asymptomatic are not considered close contacts.
Anyone who is participating in the test-to-stay protocol is required to wear a mask at all times including both indoor and outdoor activities.
Students or staff who are not fully vaccinated and engaged in Test to Stay after an exposure may participate in extracurricular activities as long as they remain consistently and correctly masked and physically distanced for the full testing period. Students should not participate in sports competition during the testing period and should remain masked for the full 14 day period.
To date, we have had over 80 students and staff participate in a test to stay program. The test to stay option has allowed students to avoid missing a total of over 800 days of instruction. In addition, over the past month, we have performed over 1000 SHIELD screening tests that have yielded only 4 positive cases. We have continued to follow the recommended cleaning and disinfection procedures in order to maintain a safe environment. Our health services staff and administrative team have worked together to appropriately and reasonably determine close contact cases and to communicate with those students and their parents.
We ask for your continued support, cooperation and patience as we implement these new rules. If you have any questions, please call us at 217-482-5180.