Return to School 2021-2022 » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated August 24, 2021
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Questions About Remote Learning

A return to remote learning is not currently an option for Illinois school districts. 

 

We are bound to follow ISBE guidance which says remote learning can only be offered under certain parameters as described below:

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, provided that, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, remote instruction be made available for students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, only while they are under quarantine consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

District 153 will be monitoring closely local positivity rates and other data points. However, a return to remote learning, regardless of the data, is not currently an option for Illinois school districts. 

 

We are bound to follow ISBE guidance which says remote learning can only be offered under certain parameters as described below:

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, provided that, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, remote instruction be made available for students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, only while they are under quarantine consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

Remote learning is only offered when a student cannot receive the vaccine or has not received the vaccine AND is required to quarantine by the local health department. Regardless of if a student qualifies for remote instruction all work may be made up when absent.

Yes

It would likely be with their teacher. There will not be special remote learning classes this year.

Yes. We will provide remote learning if a vaccinated student has to quarantine.

If forced to quarantine, then yes.

Streaming will be offered only as needed.

Yes
Students who are required to quarantine will have two options for remote learning:
  1. The quarantined student will have the ability to Zoom into their ELA and math classes at their scheduled times during the school day. Quarantined students will have limited interaction with their classroom teacher, but a school staff member will also check in with the student each day.
  2. The quarantined student will have the ability to receive missing work that can be completed throughout the quarantined time period. The missing assignments maybe in the form of paper packets, Seesaw activities or assignments within MS Teams.
*** Work assigned to a quarantined student will be due one week after the student returns to school.

Yes, all students will have a device available if required to quarantine.

Questions About Masking

NOTE: On Tuesday, July 27, the CDC revised their guidance on mask wearing and now recommend all individuals- vaccinated and unvaccinated- wear masks indoors. On August 4th, Illinois Governor Pritzker issued a state mandate that all students and staff wear masks inside schools. These actions occurred after our webinar took place on July 26th.
 
Accordingly, all District 153 students and staff will be masked to start the year.
 
The answers below are in response to the original proposal (based on the earlier CDC guidance) that suggested vaccinated individuals can be unmasked indoors. 
We will closely monitor the recommendations of IDPH when making masking decisions. Their guidance can—and does--change. If it does, we will review local metrics and make our decision.
CDC does not recommend using face shields or goggles as a substitute for masks. Face shields are not as effective at protecting you or the people around you from respiratory droplets. Face shields have large gaps below and alongside the face, where your respiratory droplets may escape and reach others around you and will not protect you from respiratory droplets from others.
 
 

We cannot ensure six feet of spacing and with unvaccinated students in our buildings we feel it is prudent to keep all students masked.

Numerous staff members have stated that while they were able to teach with a mask, it is not the most effective manner in which to communicate, especially for our younger students. If our health professionals (IDPH) deem it safe for vaccinated staff to go unmasked then we would like for them to be able to instruct without a mask.

Students and staff are welcome to wear a mask if they choose, inside or outside.

We trust our staff to follow the expectations that we establish. They are professionals and are equally concerned with safety in their classrooms.

Instead of--no. In addition to--yes. 

No. Only vaccinated staff may remove a mask indoors.

Children with extenuating health conditions should speak to their building nurse for a discussion of possible accommodations.

We want our nurses' offices to remain places where routine health care, such as asthmatic needs, can be addressed. Isolation rooms will be utilized to keep potential COVID cases separate from routine visits to the health office. School staff have also been advised not to send students unannounced, so health staff can manage the flow of students and triage accordingly.

Allowing staff to teach without a mask enables more effective teaching and learning. Asking staff to wear masks in other situations models the behavior you suggest.

Questions About SHIELD Testing and BINAX NOW Testing

Families must be given this right. We cannot mandate this testing for all students.

Unvaccinated individuals are required to participate, and all others are encouraged. In addition, all unvaccinated band and choir students will be required to participate in SHIELD given the increased risk of transmission these activities carry with them and as per revised guidance from the ISBE.

Just like those who have been vaccinated, individuals with a lab confirmed COVID test within 90 days are not required to participate.

We will be using our SHIELD screening test for all students, unless a parent signs an opt-out form and returns it to the student's school nurse.

No news is good news. A family will be notified ONLY IF there is a positive test result.

After collaborating with the SHIELD team, HR Support was assigned as our third party to assist in administering the screening test.

5-10 minutes per week

The SHIELD test is designed to identify asymptomatic students. The BINAX Now test is used for symptomatic individuals.

Yes

No. It will take a couple of weeks to get all of the rosters set. We plan to begin testing the week of August 30.

All students who do not opt-out will be tested once a week.

Yes

Yes, they might be. However, students are distanced and can provide the sample by lifting their mask.

Yes, our staff will accommodate students as they partake in testing.

Due to the unlikelihood of severe infection following vaccination, SHIELD recommends screening all unvaccinated individualsDistrict 153 will test all students and staff regardless of their vaccination status unless an opt-out form is returned to the school nurse.

Our third-party provider signs a contract with SHIELD Illinois to ensure all laws related to disclosure of health information is protected.

Questions About Vaccinations

On Aug. 31st, the District 153 Board of Education voted to require all district employees—including substitute teachers, itinerant staff and Board of Education members--to be vaccinated by October 15th.  Volunteers in our schools also will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the buildings. 

On Aug. 31st, the District 153 Board of Education voted to require all district employees—including substitute teachers, itinerant staff and Board of Education members--to be vaccinated by October 15th.  Volunteers in our schools also will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the buildings. 

Approximately 85% of all teachers are vaccinated, and 80% of all staff are vaccinated.

On Aug. 31st, the District 153 Board of Education voted to require all district employees—including substitute teachers, itinerant staff and Board of Education members--to be vaccinated by October 15th.  Volunteers in our schools also will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the buildings. 

On Aug. 31st, the District 153 Board of Education voted to require all district employees—including substitute teachers, itinerant staff and Board of Education members--to be vaccinated by October 15th.  Volunteers in our schools also will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the buildings. 

On Aug. 31st, the District 153 Board of Education voted to require all district employees—including substitute teachers, itinerant staff and Board of Education members--to be vaccinated by October 15th.  Volunteers in our schools also will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the buildings. 

Questions About Quarantining and Contact Tracing

10 days following the positive test and until symptoms (if any) have improved.

No. Once the isolation period ends and symptoms (if any) have improved.

Yes, per the guidelines of IDPH.

Please contact the school. Household members will be advised to quarantine on a case by case basis in collaboration with the local health department.
Yes, other household members will need to quarantine as a close contact. Lengths of quarantine depend on many factors and will be recommended in collaboration with the local health department on a case by case basis.

Someone who is not fully vaccinated and was within 6-feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. However, if students are no closer than 3-feet from one another and both are consistently wearing properly-fitted masks and the school is using other mitigation strategies then a student is not considered a close contact and does not have to quarantine.

No, not if they are/remain asymptomatic.

Questions About Lunch/Snacks

Parents can always take their children from the school for an appointment. However, it becomes very difficult for office staff and teachers to manage this on a daily basis. We are taking all steps possible to safely feed our students in our buildings. 

Like last year, the USDA has extended the free school lunch program for all students for the 21/22 school year.

Details will be provided by Willow staff soon.

As far as possible. Not closer than three feet but as far as possible. We will utilize as many spaces as possible to provide the greatest amount of distancing possible.

On any given day, no. We will try to utilize outdoor spaces when possible but this can change daily.

Yes

For themselves, yes.

Questions About Before and After School Care

The Park District organizes and staffs these programs and can provide details.

Miscellaneous Questions 

We will not force any student to use a locker if they do not wish to. Each building will provide details on how this will work.

Parents should check their child’s temperature each day and make sure they have no COVID symptoms before sending them to school. However, we will NOT be requiring students at Willow to have the paper health certification form nor students at Churchill and James Hart to wear a wristband confirming that these things have been done.

Absences need to be reported to each school building. The student absence hotline is 708-647-2200.

 

It is VERY important to report any student who is symptomatic for COVID directly to his/her school nurse for possible contact tracing. 

  • James Hart School Nurse: 708-647-2321
  • Churchill School Nurse: 708-647-2201
  • Willow School Nurse: 708-647-5648
Distancing is to be done as best as possible, and there may be times when students are closer than three feet. However, for contact tracing, so long as the “close contact” is not for more than 15 minutes then it does not meet the criteria for quarantining purposes. Students adjacent to one another in passing before or after school do not meet this threshold.
Yes

Yes, we will use outside subs. We will not require proof of vaccination since everyone at this time will be masked.

Students will be passing one another in the hallway but all will be masked.

Yes, Churchill will be having BCO. Details of these programs will be provided by each teacher.

Our district has an approved E-learning plan to use on potential bad weather days. Details of this plan will be shared if we see bad weather predicted.

Yes, an e-mail will be sent.

Rooms are wiped down and sprayed with an atomizer each night by our custodial crew. Each classroom has disinfectant wipes and/or spray with paper towel to use as needed. All students will be encouraged to frequently wash their hands or use sanitizer.

Yes

We do provide weekly cleanings of playgrounds but the best way to ensure playground safety is to have all students wash/wipe their hands upon returning to the building.

All internal air quality improvements occurred last year. Our architects have performed a study of air exchange rates and ours were found to be at a safe level.
If unvaccinated, yes.
Two people total
We will monitor positivity rates but will not commit to a certain course of action based on one number. We will closely follow the recommendations of IDPH and Cook County DPH when making decisions.

Details will be coming from James Hart staff.

Yes

We will use our screening and diagnostic tests to provide the extra layers of security needed to ensure a safe environment. There are no “special rules” for people who travel unless mandated by IDPH.