January 12, 2022
Dear parents and guardians,
We are pleased to share that the isolation and quarantine period for students and staff members sick with COVID-19 or considered a close contact has been reduced to five days.
Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and the Mason County Health Department announced that the agencies have adopted CDC guidance for P-12 schools that halves the isolation and quarantine period. The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance for P-12 schools on January 6.
As a result, effective immediately, Illini Central CUSD189 will implement the updated guidance.
Today’s announcement does not change the state of Illinois’ mask requirement for anyone inside school buildings. The Governor’s indoor mask mandate for school is still in effect until further notice.
Staff and students who are currently impacted by a quarantine now have a revised return to school date. Any student and staff member who tested positive on or before Saturday, January 8 can return to school on Thursday, January 13. Anyone who tested positive on Sunday, January 9 may return to school on Friday, January 14. Anyone who tested positive from January 10 through January 12 can return to school on Tuesday, January 18. Please note that to return to school, the individual must be fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved.
Unvaccinated students and not boosted staff members who are close contacts are now required to quarantine for 5 days. Any student and staff member who was deemed a close contact on or before Saturday, January 8 can return to school on Thursday, January 13. Anyone who tested positive on Sunday, January 9 may return to school on Friday, January 14. Anyone who tested positive from January 10 through January 12 can return to school on Tuesday, January 18. Please note that to return to school, the individual must be fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved.
In addition, I want to pass along information from IDPH and CDC related to quarantine and recommended isolation periods. Below is summary information.
What is quarantine?
Quarantine means staying home for at least 5 days after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. This is because someone can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 but may not show symptoms. Even though someone may not show symptoms, they can still spread the virus.
Quarantine is different from isolation. Isolation is used by someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, or tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms. Isolation helps prevent transmission of the virus by separating people infected with the virus from those who are not infected.
How does this new quarantine guidance impact staff and students if they test positive for COVID-19?
How does the new quarantine guidance impact staff and students who are considered close contacts to someone who tested positive with COVID-19?
It is important to note that the 5 day exclusion period for a close contact begins on the day after the last exposure to the individual who is COVID positive.
What is expected of a student or staff member who returns after the 5 day exclusion?
Anyone returning from a 5-day exclusion will be required to wear a facemask at all times for 5 additional days, including at recess and PE. At lunch, students are unmasked in order to eat the meal. As a result, any student who is returning from a 5-day exclusion will eat lunch in an area separate from the rest of the student body through the next 5 calendar days.
How will the Test-to-Stay Protocol change?
Any student or staff member who is eligible for the Test-to-Stay Protocol will now only test two times within the first 7 days of exposure.
This new guidance is available on the district website at www.illinicentral.org under the Quick Links tab.
Thank you for your continued support of our students and teachers. It’s been an incredibly difficult year, but we will continue to push forward together.