Return to School 2021-2022 » Important Information for 2021-2022

Important Information for 2021-2022

*IMPORTANT UPDATE JAN. 4, 2022*

What to I do if my child tests positive/is exposed to COVID-19?

Family COVID-19 Case/Exposure Reporting Form

If your student or someone else in your household tested positive or has been exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID (not identified by the school), please complete the form below. This information will only be used to initiate contact with you and will be kept confidential. Thank you for your cooperation in helping keep our community safe!

Once you complete the form, there is no need to also call the school/school nurse.
1.  Your student should isolate for 5 days from the positive test or onset of symptoms (considered day 0). If possible, keep them isolated from other unvaccinated members of the household (no shared bathroom/bedroom/living area/kitchen, mask or no mask).
 
2.  He/she could be released from isolation on day 6, if ALL of these are true:
  • No fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
  • No vomiting/diarrhea for 24 hours
  • All other symptoms, if any, have improved
  • Student continues to consistently wear a well fitted mask through day 10
  • Maintain social distancing, 3 feet if masked, 6 feet if unmasked for any reason (i.e. lunch)
 
3.  If you have not already, please notify anyone else who may have been in close contact with your student outside of school up to 48 hours before the positive test (we will investigate close contacts in school and notify anyone who qualifies). This is when he/she may have passed it along to others unknowingly. Guidance recommends these individuals also quarantine for 5 days and continue to wear a well fitted mask through day 10. 
 
4.  Quarantine other unvaccinated household members for 5 days following last contact with your student. 

a.  Monitor for all symptoms of COVID, especially those listed below. 
      • Fever (100.4 or above)
      • New onset of moderate to severe headache
      • Shortness of breath
      • New cough
      • Sore throat
      • Vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • New loss of sense of taste or smell
      • Fatigue from unknown cause
      • Muscle or body aches from unknown cause

b.  If you have any other students in the district that live in the household and are unvaccinated, they will need to quarantine for 5 days following last contact with your positive student. If they are able to remain separate from the individual who tested positive, and they continue to wear a well-fitted mask through day 10, their release date will be the same (day 6). If they will have ongoing exposure to your positive student, please notify the school as this guidance will change. 

c.  Vaccinated students may stay in school as long as they remain asymptomatic and do not have ongoing exposure in the home.
 
5.  If symptoms develop, have that individual tested (rapid test is ok, but should be confirmed with laboratory PCR if negative). 
 
6.  If other household members remain asymptomatic (vaccinated or unvaccinated), they should be tested 5-7days following last contact with your student. If spread, this allows the virus time to replicate, and therefore get an accurate test result (laboratory PCR recommended, not a rapid). 

7.  Please be on the lookout for more information related to remote learning. 
 
IDPH

 

1.    Vaccine Status: 

a.    If unvaccinated, please quarantine your student at home for 5 days following last contact (day 0) and try to keep them separate from the individual who tested positive. Your student will not be permitted to attend any school activities during this time. 
b.    If your student is vaccinated, please confirm the school has their vaccine dates on file. If they remain asymptomatic, they may continue to attend school. 

2.    If unvaccinated, he/she could be released to come to school (and other activities) on day 6 as long as they remain asymptomatic and can continue to wear a well fitted layered mask through day 10. When unmasked for any reason (ie lunch), they must also remain 6 ft distance from others. 

3.    Monitor for COVID-like symptoms (regardless of vaccination status): 

a.    fever (100.4 or above)
b.    new onset of moderate to severe headache
c.    shortness of breath
d.    new cough
e.    sore throat
f.    vomiting
g.    diarrhea
h.    new loss of sense of taste or smell
i.    fatigue from unknown cause
j.    muscle or body aches from unknown cause

4.    If your student develops symptoms during quarantine, please have them tested as soon as possible and notify the school. 

5.    Laboratory testing (not a rapid antigen test) is recommended 5-7 days following last contact, even if your student is vaccinated and/or not experiencing symptoms. 

a.    Unfortunately, a negative test will not shorten the quarantine. 

6.    Please be on the lookout for more information related to remote learning. 
 
IDPH guidance
1.    Vaccine Status:
 
a.    If unvaccinated, please quarantine your student at home for 5 days following last contact (day 0). Your student will not be permitted to attend any school activities during this time. 
b.    If your student is vaccinated, please confirm the school has their vaccine dates on file. If they remain asymptomatic, they may continue to attend school. 

2.    If unvaccinated, he/she could be released to come to school (and other activities) on day 6 as long as they remain asymptomatic and can continue to wear a well fitted layered mask through day 10. When unmasked for any reason (i.e. lunch), they must also remain 6 ft. distance from others. 

3.    Monitor for COVID-like symptoms (regardless of vaccination status): 

a.    fever (100.4 or above)
b.    new onset of moderate to severe headache
c.    shortness of breath
d.    new cough
e.    sore throat
f.    vomiting
g.    diarrhea
h.    new loss of sense of taste or smell
i.    fatigue from unknown cause
j.    muscle or body aches from unknown cause

4.    If your student develops symptoms during quarantine, please have them tested as soon as possible and notify the school. 

5.    Laboratory testing (not a rapid antigen test) is recommended 5-7 days following last contact, even if your student is vaccinated and/or not experiencing symptoms. 

a.    Unfortunately, a negative test will not shorten the quarantine. 

6.    Please be on the lookout for more information related to remote learning. 

 
student covid flow chart

2021-2022 Road Back to School Plan

**REVISED August 23, 2021**

A Special Message from District 153 School Board President Shelly Marks

One month ago, with a sense of excitement and trepidation we began a new school year. Our excitement came from welcoming back all of our Homewood District 153 students and staff. We know without a doubt that children need to learn within the walls of a school, guided by talented adults, collaborating with each other and growing socially, emotionally, and academically. Our trepidation came from knowing that in spite of all of our preparation there would be COVID related issues that we could not anticipate or prepare for. Simply put, we have not been here before. COVID has been a part of our lives since March 2020, but this is the first time we have been back to business as (almost) usual.
 
The laughter I hear from our children in their classrooms and on the playgrounds, the questions they ask while mastering a skill tell me that indeed school is back!

The safety of these children is our number one concern. We know that it is scary to be a parent right now. Every decision we make has as the highest priority keeping our school community healthy and safe.
The controversy about the best way to do this creates a layer of stress that we are living with. We are doing our very best to make good decisions in spite of the difficulty in doing so in the midst of everchanging guidance, information and recommendations.
 
I’d like to give some insight into what is happening inside of our buildings. By necessity, our talented administrators, school secretaries and nurses have been pressed into service as public health COVID managers. Rather than being educational leaders that they trained to be, their days are consumed with answering COVID related questions, contact tracing and quarantine planning.

They respond to emails, phone calls and messages that contain questions, criticism and concerns about our COVID procedures. Too often they are on the receiving end of parents who are either angry that the school district is doing too much or too little in terms of COVID mitigation.

Our teachers are managing their classrooms in order to maintain a safe, friendly learning environment. They have had to get away from using teaching methods they know to be best--for example having students work together in small groups--in order to maintain as much distance between students as possible. The challenge of serving students in their classroom as well as those who are quarantined is daunting. And yet the teachers are there for their students every day ready to help them learn.

In addition to COVID prevention and mitigation, our schools, like private businesses, are dealing with the added stressor of personnel shortages. We do not have enough substitute teachers. School and district administrators are filling in where needed and teachers are giving up planning periods in order to fill in. Nor do we have enough bus drivers. To give you some idea of the scope of the national bus driver shortage, the state of Massachusetts is calling out the National Guard to drive school buses. Our lunch staff also is stretched thin. We know all this impacts your child’s day.

Working within the constraints of personnel shortages puts stress on everyone including those who are doing extra duty so that we can function in the way we both want and need to.

Quite frankly our talented staff needs some grace. Our principals, nurses and school secretaries are dealing every day with peoples’ charged emotions. Our administrators, teachers, support staff and bus drivers deserve your thanks for the job they are doing.

Please understand that every single person who has dedicated themselves to your child’s wellbeing may be close to reaching their breaking point, and it is only one month into the school year. While our staff loves what they do, it has never been more difficult or stressful to work in a school than it is today. They have other job options and we need to do all we can to collectively build them up and show thanks for what they are doing.

I am asking you to be part of the solution: Please work with us not against us.
 
Please remember how you felt in March 2020 when you realized the enormous role schools play in our community and the incredible job school staff does every day. Let’s get back to appreciating our school staff and schools.
 
I promise you that we will do everything in our power to work with you to create a safe, nurturing environment where your children can learn and thrive. Be our partner in showing your appreciation, supporting the efforts of our besieged staff and most of all, showing grace and respect in our interactions with each other.
 
Shelly Marks
President, District 153 School Board

Test-to-Stay

District 153 has begun to utilize a Test-to-Stay (TTS) protocol at our buildings in order to keep more students who are "close contacts" in school as opposed to being excluded from attendance. Test-to-Stay allows schools to test students identified as "close contacts" on the first, third, fifth, and seventh day after contact (or as close to this sequence as possible) and--if the student continually tests negative--remain in school.  While not all students qualify for TTS, we hope to be able to use this when a student does qualify in order to keep them in school. Your school nurse will notify you if your student qualifies for Test-to-Stay. Please note this only applies for school contacts and not household contacts.