Dear IB Community:
Communication is critical in dealing with our current situation surrounding COVID, and this is another effort in providing information to our district stakeholders. Some of our employees were previously quarantined for either exhibiting symptoms of COVID, or have been in close contact with someone that had tested positive. Likewise, we have sent students home to quarantine when they exhibited symptoms at school the last two days.
None of those individuals had tested positive, until today, when the results came back for one individual. As you have seen in area schools, positive cases have occurred, as school has resumed. We are not immune as a district. As stated previously, we cannot eliminate risk, we can only mitigate it. This is likely the first of many letters that will be sent indicating that either a student or staff member has tested positive which will result in contact tracing done by the health department.
The school district does not do contact tracing; this is the responsibility of the health department only. When an individual tests positive, they are contacted by a Disease Specialist of the Peoria City County Health Department to initiate contact tracing. We will assist the health department by answering their questions. Only individuals deemed to be in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with either a student or an employee will be contacted by the health department with directions about whether to quarantine. The health department made it very clear that they handle all communication with affected individuals relative to contact tracing.
We will only communicate that an individual at Illini Bluffs has tested positive. Communicating specific information such as names, grade levels, buildings, etc. about a student or employee, would be a direct violation of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and/or HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). We understand this will be frustrating to our families and staff.
Because guidelines are so restrictive in mandating either 10 days of isolation or 14 days of quarantine, staffing may become an issue. If we don't have enough bus drivers, we won't be able to run routes. If we don't have enough cooks, we cannot make lunches. If we don't have enough subs, we cannot hold class. Any of these scenarios could cause us to cancel school for a period of time in one or more buildings. We knew this coming into this school year.
Thus, I want to once again stress that we all need to be prepared to go in and out of remote learning, and be prepared to go fully remote should circumstances dictate that. Please have a plan for child care. We have been in regular contact with the Peoria City/County Health Department on all of our COVID related issues, and we will continue to prioritize the safety of all of our students and staff. Below, you will find a link to a formal letter indicating our first positive case. I wanted to introduce the letter to you since you have not seen one before. In the future, as other positive results are confirmed through time, we will send similar letters with no introduction.
Please continue to self-certify on a daily basis and do not send your child to school if they are sick or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate the exceptionality of this pandemic.
Please click this link to access the formal letter: https://5il.co/jwa0
Dear IB Community: