School Re-opening FAQ

What happens if a student is sent home with suspected symptoms and has siblings in the district. Will they be sent home, too? 

Answer:  ISBE says yes, if one student is being tested, the rest from that family will need to quarantine until they get results back.  If the results are positive, local health departments will put all the people in their home into quarantine for 14 days.

Who would be considered a close contact that would need to be quarantined if someone tests positive in a class or on a bus?

Answer:  Exposure in a classroom would include anyone who was within six feet of the student for at least 15 minutes throughout the course of a day. ISBE says when it comes to riding a bus, it would be anyone who sat within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or longer – generally three rows in front and three rows behind someone.

  What happens if students with IEPs or 504 plans can’t wear face coverings or shields?

Answer: ISBE says students can not be denied the right to an in-person education if their school is offering that to other students. Staff working with them should wear PPE and maintain social distance as much as they’re able to. Schools should work with their local public health departments to decide what the best kind of PPE will be for these situations.

For those whose kids will be returning to their band or music classes in-person, how can schools prevent covid-19 from spreading there?

Answer:  Whenever possible, hold music classes outside.  If they have to be indoors, use well-ventilated spaces and keep windows open if possible.  Try to spread students out by more than six feet – and if they’re playing wind instruments, students should be turned to avoid sending air toward each other – instrument covers could help. Music reeds and mouthpieces should not be shared, and percussion instruments that are shared should be cleaned and disinfected between students.

 What is ISBE’s definition of an outbreak in schools?

Answer:  Officials say two confirmed cases of covid-19 infections within 14 days of each other in two people in the same classroom would count.  Local health departments would then investigate – and could recommend testing and quarantining all students and staff in that classroom.

 If a student athlete is diagnosed with covid-19, is it up to the school to notify any other teams the player has been in contact with?

Answer:  ISBE says yes, the school will need to tell other schools and teams – without giving that athlete’s name in order to protect his or her confidentiality.

How many symptoms do kids need to show before covid-19 is suspected?

Answer: Just one. ISBE says “students and staff exhibiting one or more covid-like symptoms in children should be immediately isolated, and evaluated.”

When can a face covering be removed while in school buildings? 

Answer: When eating, when 6 feet of distance can be maintained, when playing music and when wearing a face shield – although those aren’t recommended by ISBE in place of face coverings. Masks don’t have to be worn outdoors if social distancing is being practiced. staff can take off their masks if they are alone in classrooms or offices.