February 27, 2022 Update
On Friday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance regarding the use and care of masks. In areas of low transmission, mask wearing “is based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.” The CDC now applies this guidance to schools.
Additionally, the CDC “is exercising its enforcement discretion to not require that people wear masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs. The CDC is making this change to align with updated guidance that no longer recommends universal indoor mask wearing in K-12 and early education settings in areas with a low or medium COVID-19 Community Level.”
District 214 is in an area of low transmission and has been mask optional since February 7. We will remain a mask optional environment for all students, staff and visitors.
February 5 Update
District 214 is among the 145 school districts named in the Austin v. Pritzker lawsuit brought by parents across the state against these districts and the State of Illinois regarding the Governor’s school mask mandate and the requirement that districts exclude close contacts from school.
The judge’s recent ruling - a temporary restraining order regarding masks, quarantines, testing and vaccinations - impacts all districts in the lawsuit including D214.
While the State of Illinois has indicated that it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling, effective Monday, February 7, District 214 intends to follow the judge’s ruling for the District.
Masks are no longer required for students and staff. However, it is strongly recommended, but not required, that all students, staff and visitors wear face masks while in District 214 buildings. As this ruling does not apply to school-provided transportation, masks will still be required to be worn on school buses, activity buses and taxis, due to the Federal CDC order.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will still have to isolate. Close contacts of students and staff will not need to continue to quarantine unless directed to by the local health department.
As a result of the judge’s ruling, we will also no longer be collecting weekly tests for unvaccinated staff and those students in the COVID-19 test to stay program.
After consultation with and receiving additional information from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), it has been determined that students participating in IHSA recognized sports and activities may follow their local mask guidelines. As District 214 is currently under a temporary restraining order regarding COVID-19 mitigations, this now extends to District 214 hosted practices and events (masks are strongly recommended). Our athletic departments will communicate mask expectations for away games, which could vary from site to site. (Updated 2/9/22)
January 3, 2022 Update
District 214 looks forward to a successful 2021-2022 school year. We will continue to monitor public health guidance and update this page with information as it becomes available and will continue to coordinate with state and local health officials as necessary.
District 214 is implementing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies. Please contact your school’s student services team if you have specific questions related to your student’s situation.
The latest Cook County Covid-19 metrics data for the North Cook region may be found on the Cook County Department of Public Health website.
The following mitigation strategies have been outlined by the CDC’s guidance for COVID prevention in schools: COVID vaccination promotion, consistent and correct mask use, physical distancing, screening and testing to identify cases and outbreaks, ventilation, hand washing/respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine and continuous cleaning and disinfection.
Our District mitigation efforts for COVID-19 may adjust or change based on local data, outbreaks and increasing trends in our community.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandated for staff and students?
On Thursday, August 26, 2021, Governor Pritzker announced that all PreK-12 and higher education employees as well as higher education students will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Governor mandated that all individuals who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week.
Currently the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated for high school students, however, students who attend dual credit classes on a college campus must follow the protocols of the post-secondary institution and either be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
District 214 encourages eligible staff and students to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Per the CDC, vaccination is the leading health prevention strategy per the CDC and continues to be available in our communities for those individuals aged 12 and above.
Are students, staff and visitors required to wear masks if vaccinated?
On August 4, 2021, Governor Pritzker mandated that all individuals within Illinois school buildings must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. As a result, masks must be worn by all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, while inside D214 facilities.
Do students have to wear masks on buses and other forms of group transportation?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order on January 29, 2021, “requiring the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education has stated, “Regardless of the mask policy at school, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems, subject to the exclusions and exemptions in CDC’s order.”
Are there any exceptions to the mask requirements?
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there may be certain limited situations where a student may be exempt from wearing a mask due to a medical condition and/or disability. A form can be provided to you for the purpose of requesting an exemption. Requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis due to individual circumstances. Until the District can consider the request and respond, your child will be required to wear a mask.
Will social distancing be maintained in classrooms and other spaces?
The priority is to maintain full in-person learning and the District will adhere to three feet distancing to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, in many instances, students may be allowed to have off-campus lunch and/or lunch outdoors when feasible.
Will students and staff be sent home if they have COVID-19 symptoms?
Yes, students and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status) will be sent home until a negative COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result or alternate diagnosis is received. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100.4 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 and muscle/body aches from an unknown cause. If the individual's symptoms last less than 24 hours, and they have not been in known contact to someone who is a confirmed COVID-19 case, a negative test result/alternative diagnosis will not be required for return. The individual must remain fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication and have had no diarrhea or vomiting in the previous 24 hours.
Students and staff with COVID-19-like symptoms lasting longer than 24 hours and who do not get tested or provide a healthcare provider note documenting an alternative diagnosis must complete a 10-day isolation period from the date the symptoms began before returning to the building.
Students and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness should stay home and seek guidance from their healthcare provider regardless of vaccination status. Staying home when sick is an essential mitigation prevention strategy to keep COVID-19 from spreading to others.
Will siblings of symptomatic students be required to quarantine while a COVID-19 test/alternate diagnosis is pending?
No, siblings of symptomatic students may remain in school until the COVID-19 test result or alternate diagnosis is received. If the symptomatic student receives a positive COVID-19 test result, siblings will be asked to quarantine if they are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated siblings or siblings who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days will not be required to quarantine.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation refers to separating individuals who are sick from others. Quarantine refers to separating those who may have been exposed to a sick individual from others.
Will students and staff who are confirmed COVID-19 positive be required to isolate?
Yes, students and staff who are confirmed cases will be required to isolate a minimum of 10 calendar days. Students are expected to remain engaged in classroom activities during this time. See Student Isolation/Quarantine section below for further information.
How will a positive COVID-19 case be communicated?
Students, families, and staff in the building of the confirmed COVID-19 case will be notified via email if the student was in the building during the infectious period. The infectious period is defined as two calendar days prior to the date symptoms began or two calendar days prior to the date the positive test was collected if the individual was asymptomatic.
Will close contacts identified through contact tracing be required to quarantine?
Yes, close contacts will be required to quarantine with the following exceptions:
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine
- Individuals who have received a positive COVID-19 test within 90 days prior to exposure will not be required to quarantine.
Close contact does not apply to outdoors settings.
Is District 214 participating in the Test to Stay program from the Illinois Department of Public Health?
Yes. The Test to Stay program is available for identified unvaccinated classroom close contacts. Both individuals must be masked at the time of exposure, therefore lunch and household close contacts are not eligible for the Test to Stay program. Additional information about this program is available at: COVID-19 Information / Test to Stay Program Frequently Asked Questions
Quarantine/Isolation Student Expectations
Is remote learning an option?
Only students who are deemed medically fragile may be eligible for remote learning. Please contact the Student Services office at your school to discuss your student’s situation.
What are the expectations for a student in quarantine or isolation?
To facilitate continued learning once in quarantine or isolation, students are expected to remain engaged in classroom activities by doing the following:
- Remain in regular communication with classroom teachers
- Arrange for any textbooks, devices or classroom materials to be retrieved
- Utilize the District Learning Management System (Schoology) to continue classroom engagement with assignments and materials
- Communicate with District/building liaison for coordination of additional instructional support such as tutoring as needed
A student in quarantine or isolation will be considered an authorized absence and be permitted to complete any assigned assessments, assignments or in-person labs within reasonable time limits established by the teacher.
Is remote learning an option?
No, only a student who is deemed medically fragile may be eligible for remote learning. Please contact the Student Services office at your school to discuss your child’s situation.
Is the District still utilizing the hand sanitizing stations throughout the schools?
Yes, hand sanitizing stations will remain for the 2021-2022 school year.
Will the custodial staff continue to sanitize high touch locations throughout the day?
Yes, the custodial staff will maintain cleaning schedules and practices utilized during the 2020-2021 school year.
Will school buildings continue to have increased fresh air circulating throughout the building?
Yes, the ventilation systems have been programmed to maximize outdoor air at all times.
Is the District allowing field trips?
Yes, the District will return to field trips for the 2021-2022 school year.