Rocket Families, Faculty, and Staff:
On January 7, 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a Health Alert stating that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently clarified that the shortened isolation and quarantine guidance to five (5) days does apply to schools. As a result, the IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) plan to revise their existing regulations and guidance documents regarding exclusion from schools to align with the CDC’s Isolation and Quarantine guidance. The changes have been confirmed by the ISBE, and are effective immediately.
Following is a summary of the changes made:
Positive Test Result
Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days after the onset of symptoms or 5 days after a positive test if no symptoms are present, regardless of vaccination status. If there are no symptoms or the symptoms have resolved after 5 days, individuals may be released from isolation. Students and staff who continue to have symptoms past the 5 days should wait to end isolation until they are fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms have improved.
Wearing well-fitted masks remains a requirement. Students and staff who return from isolation after 5 days should take extra care to properly wear masks around others for 5 additional days. If this is not possible, the individual should isolate for a total of 10 days.
When masks need to be removed (e.g. during lunch), 6 feet of physical distance should be kept until 10 days after onset of symptoms or positive result.
Exclusions for Close Contacts:
Exclusions are not required for close contacts that meet the following criteria:
Individuals aged 5-17 who have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
Individuals who have had a confirmed COVID-19 case within the last 90 days do not need to quarantine if they are a close contact. Those individuals should continue to wear a mask around others for 10 days, and test on day 5 if possible. If symptoms develop, individuals should isolate until they receive a negative test result.
Individuals 18 or older who have completed the primary series of recommended vaccine doses, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine over 2 months ago, but have not received a booster shot, as well as unvaccinated individuals should stay home for 5 days after a close contact, and test on day 5 if possible. If symptoms develop, they should isolate until they receive a negative test result.
Children who have received the primary vaccination series but are not eligible for booster doses will not be excluded from school after a close contact unless symptoms develop and they test positive for COVID-19.
Exclusions are required for close contacts that meet the following criteria:
Received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
Unvaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
Revised Return to School Date
Students and staff who are currently impacted by an exclusion now have a revised return to school date. Please see the chart below to know when to send your child back to school.
If a student or staff member tested positive or first had symptoms on the following date:
The new return to school/work date is the following:
*Any date prior to 1/3/2022 may return on Monday, 1/10
**The date above is if a person is fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved.
COVID-19 numbers continue to remain high throughout Illinois, however, we continue to believe we can mitigate issues at school if we all work together. A summary of school-related data may be found here.
Rochester schools are committed to safely remaining in person, and keeping our activities going for our students. To help us accomplish this goal the greatest tools we have available to us this year that we did not in the past are testing and vaccination. You can help by keeping your child home if he or she has symptoms. If someone in your home has symptoms or has COVID please talk with your medical provider or a school nurse and follow the advised protocols. And when in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
As we continue to await additional guidance from ISBE regarding the above changes, your continued patience and support are appreciated. We will communicate any and all changes to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for your continued support, patience, and grace.
Be the Difference,
Dan W. Cox, Superintendent