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COVID-19 Symptom Update - Potential Exclusion From School
COVID-19 Symptom Update - Potential Exclusion From School
Roger Alvey
Monday, August 10, 2020

Dear IB Families, 

As things continue to evolve and change with COVID-19, it is important for us to update our parents, students, and staff.  Guidelines and criteria that are being imposed are complex and difficult to manage for both school personnel and parents. There will be times in which you may disagree with a decision that has been made to exclude your child from school.  For example, there may be circumstances in which your child is sent home based on symptoms they are exhibiting.  You may not agree with this decision, even though the guidelines set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)  currently indicate “any one symptom” results in exclusion.  

Individual students or staff, small groups of students, grade levels, sections of buildings, or even entire buildings may need to be quarantined because of exposure.  These decisions are not made lightly, and they are not something that the school has arbitrarily created.  They are criteria set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in the best interest of safety.  The Peoria City-County Health Department has ultimate authority over these quarantine decisions.

It is imperative that every family have a plan for child care should we be required to go back to remote learning delivery for educating our children.  This would include daycare and connectivity solutions.  Remember, our approach is not IF the virus will affect our schools, but WHEN.  It is quite possible that your child may be sent home with symptoms, or sent home due to exposure, or even that we are mandated by the Governor to enact Remote Learning across the board.  In any event, have a plan and be ready to put it in motion on a moment’s notice. 

It is also essential that if your child has a known, chronic condition such as allergies, that you contact your pediatrician now.  Ask for a note from your pediatrician that clearly indicates what symptoms might be present with the condition.  That information will be helpful to our school nurse when determining what course of action to take.  We do not want to exclude children for long periods of time that exhibit a symptom that is easily explained based on past medical history.    

Here are the most recent changes as they relate to exclusions that will be made for students and staff as symptoms relate to COVID-19 [indicates a number of days/time out]:

A. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 [10 calendar days minimum]:

  • Minimum 10 days of exclusion after the onset of the symptom(s); if no symptom(s) are present, a period of exclusion starts with a positive test (10-day exclusion allowed from date of positive test results).
  • Period of exclusion will be extended until at least 24 hours after fever breaks (without fever-reducing medication) AND exhibiting no symptoms. 

B. If a student or staff member exhibits one (or more) symptom(s) of COVID-19 [14 calendar days minimum]:

  • Fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headaches, sore throat, the new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, persistent vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Period of exclusion starts on the date of onset of the symptom(s); this is determined in the sole discretion of school personnel.
  • If symptom(s) persist past the initial 14-day exclusion period, IDPH or local health officials must be consulted regarding return (return to school will likely not be recommended if symptoms persist in the absence of a negative test).
  • Student/staff member may present medical documentation or explanation of other illnesses or conditions (e.g. allergies, fibromyalgia, pregnancy, etc.) that may be causing symptom(s) that would allow a return to school/work.
  • Negative for COVID-19 may return after resolved symptoms. 

C. If a student or staff member has a temperature higher than 100.0 F with no other COVID-19 symptoms [24 hours]:

  • At least 24 hours must elapse from the resolution of the fever without fever-reducing medication before the student/staff member can return to school.
  • If any other COVID-19 symptoms are present, see (B). 

D. Student or staff member had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 [14 calendar days]:

  • The “window” for close contact is within the last 14 days.
  • “Close contact” means that the student/staff member was within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes.
  • Period of exclusion starts on the date of the most recent close contact.
  • The close contact can happen at school, home, in the community, etc. 

E. Student or staff member had close contact with someone who is exhibiting one or more COVID-19 symptom(s) [14 calendar days]:

  • The “window” for close contact is within the last 14 days.
  • “Close contact” means that the student/staff member was within 6 feet of a symptomatic person for more than 15 minutes.
  • Period of exclusion starts on the date of the most recent close contact.
  • The close contact can happen at school, home, in the community, etc. 

F. Student or staff member has returned from a location with sustained widespread transmission designated as Travel Warning Level 3 [14 calendar days].

In the event that your child is sent home for any of the reasons indicated above, then it is your responsibility and the first course of action to contact your primary care provider.  For example, if your child has a runny nose, and the school calls you to pick them up, then you should call your doctor immediately.  They will ascertain whether or not the symptom(s) is related to COVID, and in all probability have your child get tested for the Coronavirus.  Your medical professional will make a decision regarding whether or not your child can return to school.  Official documentation will be mandatory in all instances, and your child cannot be admitted back into school until this paperwork is presented.  Information on where COVID testing is being conducted can be found at https://www.pcchd.org/299/Testing.   IDPH has recommended using one of these sites as their turnaround times for results are much quicker than other sources (i.e. pharmacies).    

It goes without saying that sending your sick child to school is not acceptable.  Keep your child(ren) home until they are symptom-free

These are difficult times.  The shifting landscape continues to challenge us all, and we must work together to do our best to adhere to the guidelines in the best interests of safety.  We will do the best we can to adhere to the recommended guidance while providing the best education possible for our students.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our district administrators and we will do our best to address your questions and concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Roger Alvey

Superintendent