Jan 2022 Returning to School FAQ

Is school starting in person on January 6, 2022? 

Yes. All School District 123 schools will be open for in-person learning beginning January 6, 2022, and we are looking forward to welcoming students and staff back to the classroom.

Will School District 123 modify quarantine procedures to reflect updated guidance from the CDC?

On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released updated guidance that shortened the isolation timeline. At this time, we are maintaining a 10-day quarantine for all District 123 students and staff members. We will be working with our partners at CCDPH, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to understand how this updated guidance impacts schools and to determine what would make the most sense for a school district of our size. We plan to provide updated guidelines to our families and staff as soon as possible.

Does my child need to take a COVID-19 test to return to school?

A test is not mandatory, except in the following situations:

  • Unvaccinated students who are close contacts of a known case must stay home and quarantine for 10 days from their last exposure regardless of their test result. Vaccinated students who are close contacts of a known COVID-19 case can attend school as long as they are not experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Close contact is defined as being less  than 6' away for 15 or more minutes during the case’s contagious period–which is two days prior to the start of symptoms until 10 days after the start of symptoms
  • All students, regardless of vaccination status, who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 must get tested, must stay home, and isolate for 10 days.

Should students attend the first day of school if they are still awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test?

Students can and should attend on the first day of school unless 1) they have tested positive, or 2) they have symptoms of COVID-19

What if my child has come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Vaccinated students who do not have symptoms do not need to quarantine. However, unvaccinated students who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive will need to stay home and quarantine.

What would it take for School District 123 to transition fully to remote learning?

Our plan is to open school doors for all School District 123 students on Thursday, January 6, 2022. We will investigate and carefully monitor self-reported cases of COVID-19 in all schools and will be ready to transition a classroom or school to remote learning if directed to do so through our collaboration with public health authorities. However, there are no plans for a District wide shift to remote learning at the present moment.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Illinois and Cook County, why not transition all schools to remote learning?

With universal masking, social distancing, vaccination, and testing in place, data has shown over and over again that our schools are among the safest places for students and staff. Most of the time, COVID-19 is spread in informal, community and household settings outside of school in which fewer protections are in place. Events like playdates, family gatherings, sleepovers, athletics, shopping outings, and other congregate settings within the community. We want to keep as many of our students in school as possible, as nearly two years of research shows that school is the best place for them to be academically, socially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In addition, transitioning to remote instruction in broad sweeps would send vaccinated and un-impacted students to remote learning unnecessarily. Unless there is a state emergency declaration, we have no plans to transition the District to remote learning.

If I voluntarily keep my child home from school and they are not directed to quarantine by CCDPH or School District 123, will they be marked “absent”?

They will be marked absent and can expect to receive communication regarding coursework and assignments to complete at home.

What is the distinction between isolation and quarantine?

Health authorities require those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to complete an “isolation” period; those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a “quarantine” period. In practice, isolation and quarantine both mean to stay home and stay separated from others who have not been exposed to COVID-19.

My child was recently vaccinated. How do I submit proof of their vaccination status?

District 123 invites families to voluntarily share an electronic image of their child’s vaccination card with the school district. Providing this proof of vaccination is not required. However, current IDPH/ISBE guidance fully excuses vaccinated individuals from having to quarantine after coming in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 unless symptomatic. Copies of proof of vaccination will be kept confidentially in each student’s individual health record and will be treated the same way as all health records. You can submit your child's vaccination information and an image of their vaccination card in Skyward Family Access.  Click HERE to begin the submission process.

How do I go about opting into weekly COVID-19 screen testing in School District 123?

All District 123 students have the opportunity to be screen-tested weekly for COVID-19 via the Shield Illinois program, sponsored by the University of Illinois. The testing procedure is quick, simple, and non-invasive, with students providing a small amount of saliva that is tested at a professional lab with results provided in approximately 24 hours. The program offers students the opportunity to reduce or waive quarantine requirements in the event of close contact with a positive case or if a student begins to demonstrate symptoms. Regardless of vaccination status, all students can participate in the testing program. Parents can opt their students into the program through Skyward Family Access by clicking HERE.

What maintenance work has been completed over the holiday break to ensure buildings are clean and safe for students to return?

Our custodial teams have been working throughout winter break, replacing HVAC filters, cleaning classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, and common areas to ensure that our schools provide all students with a safe healthy learning environment when they return on January 6. Custodial and maintenance teams have also been working on other maintenance activities through the winter break such as lighting, painting, HVAC, plumbing, snow removal preparation, and security camera projects.

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