Dear Huntley 158 Parents and Families,
As a follow up to this week’s change in practice regarding periods of isolation and quarantine, we’d like to provide you with additional clarification about some important points. We continue to ask questions and engage with our local health officials in order to provide our families with a clear understanding of these most recent changes. The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education also released their Revised ISBE Public Health Guidance for Schools, which offers additional clarity for school settings. We have used this guidance, as well as information from the McHenry County Department of Health, to provide answers to some important questions.
Please review the answers below and reference Huntley 158’s up to date exclusion decision tree, which breaks down the newest guidance for all potential and necessary periods of isolation and quarantine for students and staff.
Frequently Asked Questions: NEW Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines
What qualifies as “improved symptoms” when returning to school from isolation?
We understand that the language used by the CDC regarding “improved symptoms” may lead to different interpretations. The clarification we have received from the McHenry County Department of Health stresses that in order to return to school, an individual MUST be fever free for 24 hours without using any fever-reducing medications. In addition, if diarrhea and vomiting are present symptoms, an individual must also be free of these for 48 hours*. Other symptoms such as a cough, nausea, runny nose, congestion, or others would be considered “improving” if an individual does not require medication every 4-6 hours to control or provide relief from these symptoms. A student or staff member should also evaluate if their symptoms would distract them from working or learning when making the decision to return to school.
*48 hours free from vomiting/diarrhea before returning to school is a district policy that Huntley 158 had in place before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we understand the IDPH uses 24 hours as a recommended metric, we will continue to adhere to our district policy in order to ensure the health of our students and staff.
How does this impact my student(s)’ participation in athletic events?
Effective tomorrow, in response to the most up to date guidance from the McHenry County Department of Health and Illinois Department of Public Health, students who have been excluded from school (isolation OR quarantine) may resume extracurricular activities and athletics practices as long as they remain asymptomatic and mask at all times when around others for 10 days from exposure. The ability to participate in athletic practices will be dependent upon a students’ ability to mask properly and consistently, as well as the individual risk level associated with a sport.
The most recent guidance also states that those students returning from isolation or quarantine should NOT participate in competitions and performances until the 10 days post exposure has passed. If you have questions regarding your student(s)’ participation in athletic activities, please reach out to your student(s)’ building.
What should I do if I am a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case in my household?
According to MCDH and IDPH, if you are a close contact to a positive case of COVID-19 in your household and are an unvaccinated student or staff member or an adult (18 and older) who has not received a booster dose when eligible, then you must stay home for a minimum of 5 days.
- If the positive case can isolate away from other members of the household in order to significantly limit exposure, then you may return to school after 5 days.
- If the positive case is unable to isolate from other members of the household, then you must stay home for an additional 5 days after the positive case completes their period of isolation, resulting in a maximum of 10 days in quarantine.
If additional themes and questions develop as we work through this guidance, we will supply our families with updates and clarification as necessary. In the meantime, our staff will continue to work as efficiently as possible to address all of our families’ questions, concerns and needs on a case-by-case basis in a timely manner.
If you or your student are impacted by a period of isolation or quarantine, we encourage you to reach out to your student(s)’ building administration or health office with questions regarding your student(s)’ circumstances and path forward. If you have any questions about Huntley 158’s district-wide policies and mitigation strategies, please email [email protected]. As always, thank you for your attention to this information and your support in keeping our schools safe.
Scott Rowe, Ed.D.