Moving Forward Together: 2021-22
Elmhurst CUSD 205 COVID-19 2021-2022 Plan: Moving Forward Together
Current Guidance Documents
There have been several updates made recently regarding COVID protocols in schools. We understand that this might become confusing and have therefore created the list of documents below for your quick reference.
Last Updated On
The information on this page was most recently updated on January 13, 2022.
- District 205 COVID Metrics
- Masks and Face Coverings
- Health & Safety
- Cleaning and Ventilation Procedures
- Extracurricular Activities, Lunch, and Lockers
- Plan Evaluation
Our instructional program is full of fantastic opportunities for students to safely be together in their classrooms. We believe strongly that students benefit from socializing with each other. We continue to prioritize our student’s academic, social, and emotional learning needs.
Will Elmhurst District 205 schools continue to be open full-time in 2022?
Yes, District 205 is excited to continue with five full school days of in-person learning.
Is there a virtual option for students?
A virtual option is available for a small number of students who meet one or more of the following criteria with medical verification:
Students who are at increased risk for severe illness.
Students who have special health care needs.
If you would like to request for your student to learn virtually this year, please contact Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Kevin Rubenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How has the District prepared for instruction?
D205 is committed to building connections and fostering relationships between students, staff, and peers from Day One. Also, significant, yearlong planning is underway to align resources to specific priorities to provide high-quality, positive learning experiences for all students.
Students are experiencing a full, robust complement of programming, including fine arts and physical education offerings.
What does instruction look like when students have to quarantine?
Students in quarantine from grades EC-5 will be assigned a D205 virtual teacher to support learning during quarantine. For grades EC-5, learning will be supported with synchronous (real-time, live, direct, and in-direct instruction) and asynchronous (pre-made, individual, and indirect instruction) activities during this time.
Students in quarantine from grades 6-12 will engage in class through daily asynchronous activities posted to Google Classroom. For grades 6-12, learning will be supported with asynchronous (pre-made, individual, and indirect instruction) activities through Google Classroom and various instructional technology resources.
Regardless of grade level, teachers will remain responsive to student learning by providing regular communication with students and feedback on assignments using District-approved digital communication platforms.
Additionally, more information about quarantine is available under health and safety.
Currently, in accordance with the August 4, 2021 Executive Order issued by the Governor's office, students, staff, and visitors are required to wear masks when inside Illinois schools. This includes times when any individual is on campus participating in an activity or meeting before or after school hours.
Are students required to wear masks?
Executive Order 2021-18 requires that all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to pre-K12 schools wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. People in schools are permitted to remove their masks at the following times:
When eating lunch or snack.
When a disability-related exemption is on file with the school nurse.
Additionally, please note that all students and staff are required to wear a mask when riding on public transportation, including school buses.
Do students have any "mask free" times during the day?
Other opportunities to remove masks may take place for students throughout each day. For information specific to your child’s classroom or school, please contact your child’s teacher or the principal directly.
Is there a special kind of mask required?
- Please click here for the CDC guidance on face coverings.
Click here to view the list of masks reported by the CDC to meet the new ASTM standard for barrier face coverings.
The CDC recommends that your mask should fit snugly over the nose and chin with no large gaps around the side of the face. Click here to view the CDC recommendations on ways to improve how your mask protects you.
Are see-through/mesh masks appropriate?
No. Please click here for the CDC guidance on face coverings.
The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We will monitor our metrics and continue to evaluate mitigations as necessary.
Are students required to self-certify each day?
Students do not have to self-certify each day. However, families are asked to commit to safe practices at school each day (i.e. not coming to school with COVID symptoms, quarantining when required, etc.).
What happens if a student exhibits symptoms during the school day?
If a student exhibits symptoms during the school day, two options are available:
The parent/ guardian will be asked to pick up their child from school and take the student for a RT-PCR COVID test at an outside testing site and provide the results to the school district. OR
The parent/ guardian will be asked to pick up their child from school and take the student to be tested at our centralized COVID testing site. At the centralized COVID testing site, our team tests students using the BinaxNow (results available within 15 minutes) and the RT-PCR. After the results of the Binax Now test are received, the parents/guardians will be notified to take appropriate actions.
Students with positive results on the BinaxNow Antigen Test will need to assist their student in self-isolation for at least five days following symptom(s) onset.
Students with negative results on the BinaxNow Antigen Test may be able to return to class if the student has no fever, no loss of taste or smell, etc.
What is an outbreak?
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) updated their definition of an outbreak to include the following information:
(A) “multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff within a specified core group” (e.g., extracurricular activity, cohort group, classroom, etc.) OR
(B) “at least three cases within a specified core group meeting (e.g. classroom or team) criteria for a probable or confirmed school-associated COVID-19 case (laboratory-positive by PCR or antigen testing) with symptom onset or positive test within 14 calendar days of each other; who were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting outside of the school setting (i.e., household); and that are epidemiologically linked in the school setting or a school-sanctioned activity.
Throughout the pandemic, the IDPH has reported outbreaks on their website.
Additionally, during the course of an outbreak, current Emergency Rules require additional testing for unvaccinated staff members at the outbreak location.
When should I keep my child at home?
Students should remain home if any of the following apply:
The student is exhibiting any one of the symptoms of COVID-19 (Fever (100.4°F or higher), 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.
The student has been asked to quarantine by the local health department.
The student has tested positive for, or is awaiting the results of, a COVID test.
The student is unvaccinated and a member of the household has symptoms of COVID (i.e. loss of taste or smell, fever over 100.4, etc.) or has tested positive for COVID-19.
What should I do if my student has symptoms of COVID?
All students (regardless of vaccination status) with COVID-19-like symptoms should be diagnostically tested with a RT-PCR test. To return to school, one of the following must be true:
The student has tested negative on an RT-PCR test and you have shared these results with the school district (Click here to locate a testing location near you).
The student has tested negative on a Rapid PCR Test or a Rapid Antigen Test and is awaiting the results of a confirmatory PCR test. The results of each test (Rapid and Confirmatory) must be shared with the school district. (Click here to locate a testing location near you).
The student has been out of school for at least five days since symptom onset and they have been fever free (without the use of medications) for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving, and vomiting and diarrhea have been gone for 24-hours. Additionally, these students must wear a well-fitted mask at all times in days 6-10.
Please note: The Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department do not allow school districts to accept the results of at-home tests or antibody tests as evidence that the student may return to school.
If other COVID-like symptoms remain, return to school guidelines from IDPH will be followed so you may wish to seek an alternate diagnosis from your child’s doctor if symptoms persist.
What are the procedures for returning to school following a positive COVID test for students?
Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home for a minimum of five calendar days (day zero is the day of symptom onset or test date if asymptomatic). Parents/guardians should work with the DuPage County Health Department to obtain a release from isolation by calling 312-777-1999.
Students will not be released by the Health Department until the following criteria have been met:
Fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of medications
Symptoms are improving
Diarrhea and vomiting have ceased for 24 hours
At least five calendar days have passed since symptom onset (or date of test if the student was asymptomatic).
For students returning to school in days 6-10, the following guidelines must be followed:
Face masks must be worn at all times - even when outdoors - until at least ten days has passed since the onset of symptoms.
Students who are unable to wear a well-fitted mask may be excluded from school for the full 10 days.
Students may not participate in activities where masks can’t be worn consistently (practices, games, competitions, and performances, etc.)
When masks are removed (lunch, snacks, band practice, etc.), the student must practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
What happens if another person in the household tests positive for COVID?
If another family member inside a home tests positive for COVID, and the student is vaccinated (or, if over the age of 18, vaccinated and boosted), then nothing further needs to occur. However, if someone in a household tests positive for COVID, then any unvaccinated student(s) in the household will need to quarantine consistent with the procedures listed below.
If my child is unable to attend school due to COVID-like symptoms, should his/her siblings also stay home from school?
According to the IDPH, it depends on the situation and the symptoms of the student. Specifically, two situations exist:
Situation 1: A person is experiencing COVID symptoms and they are a known close contact to a COVID positive person OR they have a high fever OR they have lost sense of taste or smell.
All school-age unvaccinated students should stay home from school while the person with COVID symptoms is tested. Additionally, the unvaccinated (and/or unboosted if 18 and over) siblings/ family members of this person will be sent home.
Situation 2: A person is experiencing COVID symptoms and there is no known close contact to a COVID positive person.
The siblings or family members may return to (or stay in) school pending the results of COVID testing by the person with COVID symptoms.
In either situation, if the person with COVID symptoms tests positive, then all siblings/ family members will be sent home (or asked to stay home).
Does D205 Observe Physical Distancing?
Building administrators work with classroom teachers to provide three (3) feet of physical distancing where possible. In our lunchrooms, we have worked collaboratively with our school teams to space students at least six-feet apart to minimize the number of school based quarantines.
What metrics do you use to track COVID in your schools?
You can view our COVID dashboard by clicking this link.
Will we be notified if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
District 205 is committed to providing accurate and timely communications with families and staff should cases of COVID-19 impact our schools. Parents will receive the following communications:
When there is a confirmed positive COVID case of a student in a K-5th grade classroom. District 205 will notify all parents in that child’s classroom by email as soon as possible, as well affected staff members in the school. These instances are considered “low-risk” by the DuPage County Health Department. In some cases, depending on the affected student’s schedule or activities, parents at the grade level or the school, will be notified.
When your student is a close contact of a COVID positive individual. Individuals who came into close contact with the positive individual will be notified by District 205. In addition, they will be contacted by the DuPage County Health Department and will receive additional instructions on next steps, such as quarantining, monitoring of symptoms, etc.
When there is a positive COVID case with a teacher or other adult staff member. We will communicate the teacher’s absence with parents of their child’s classroom, as well as affected staff members in the school. In an effort to protect the privacy of our teachers, these notices may be more general and not list a reason for the absence. When there is a positive COVID case with a teacher or staff member, we will update the District’s dashboard.
In the rare situation where there is a COVID outbreak, (see definition below), we inform the specific classrooms involved as well as the school community. This information is also reported on our District dashboard and the Illinois Department of Public Health publicly reports this information on their website as well.
Additionally, when there is a positive COVID case at the middle school, York High School or the Transition Center, District 205 will update the District 205 Dashboard, which details cases by date and school. The dashboard is updated before 5 p.m. each Friday.
Please make sure that your school has your current contact info on file to ensure you will receive SchoolMessenger communications.
Student and staff confidentiality is of the utmost importance with adherence to the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
What are the quarantine procedures for students who are close contacts within our schools?
The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health have implemented quarantine practices as follows:
Step 1 - Contact Tracing and Review of Close Contacts
When there is a COVID positive individual in D205 schools (staff or student), trained staff members will ask individuals with COVID-19 for their close contacts. A close contact is defined through proximity and duration of an exposure as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).
Exception: In the PK–12 grade indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.
For students on school transportation, contacts within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student are not considered close contacts as long as both the case and the contact were consistently masked and windows were opened.
This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.
Next, school health team members will then determine whether any of these students are in the following two groups who are not required to quarantine:
Students who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their second dose for those ages 5 -17)
Students who are fully vaccinated and boosted (for those over the age of 18)
Students who have recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID within the last 90 days.
Following guidance from the IDPH, antibody tests are not accepted to exempt people from quarantine since the robustness and durability of antibodies remains unknown.
Step 2 - Notifications to Close Contacts
School team members will contact impacted families to notify them that they have been identified as close contacts. School-based close contacts may be offered the opportunity to participate in the Test-to-Stay Program as outlined below.
Step 3 - Quarantine or Test to Stay
Once notifications have been made, then the parent/guardian and the school nurses will collaboratively determine the best option for the student. The following options are currently available to school-based close contacts:
- Quarantine for 5 days Returning on day 6 - Under this option, students will stay home from school and participate in instruction (either synchronous for students in grades EC-8 or asynchronous for students at York) from home for at least five days from the date of last exposure. The student would return to school on Day 6 if they are asymptomatic and they are able to wear a well-fitting mask consistently for Days 6-10.
- Participate in the Test-to-Stay Program - Under this option, students would come to the centralized testing site and be tested first thing in the morning using the BinaxNow Rapid Antigen Test. The first test will occur between days 0 and 5 and the second test will occur between days 5 and 7. Both of these tests must be negative in order for the student to go to school that day. Additionally, if the student develops symptoms at any time during the 10 days, the student must stay home consistent with the students with symptoms procedures.
To participate in the Test to Stay Program, parents/guardians must complete two forms:
Note: The administration team, along with the Board of Education, will regularly evaluate the number of students who have been quarantined to achieve the shared goal of ensuring that healthy students remain in school and engaged in a healthy learning environment.
What are the quarantine procedures for students who are close contacts to COVID positive individuals outside of our schools, within the community, or in their own homes?
The DuPage County Health Department is responsible for working with students who are identified as close contacts outside of the school setting. These students are, unfortunately, not eligible for a test-to-stay option at this time. Therefore, students will stay home from school and participate in instruction from home for at least five days from the date of last exposure. The student would return to school on day 6 if they are asymptomatic and they are able to wear a well-fitting mask consistently for days 6-10.
As a service to our community, we offer several types of testing programs within our schools. All of our testing programs are completely voluntary and are being provided as a service to our community.
Are students required to participate in screening or testing using saliva?
Our student testing programs are all voluntary.
What types of COVID testing does the School District offer?
Our District offers two types of testing:
Through this program, students and staff members who wish to be tested once per week are able to receive a PCR test at school. Results are transmitted to parents/guardians and the school within 48 hours. To sign up for this program, click here.
For people who experience symptoms during the day, we offer testing using BinaxNow and a PCR Test. Results are received within 15 minutes and then need to be confirmed by a PCR. A parent will need to sign and return the consent form in order to have their child tested if the student has symptoms at school. No testing of symptomatic students (or any other students) may occur without parent/guardian consent. The consent form and additional testing information is available by clicking here. This form can be printed and should be returned to the school office.
Why does the District offer COVID testing?
This is a service to our school community. Additionally, weekly RT-PCR COVID testing is another strategy that school districts across the country are using to support student health and safety.
Does COVID testing through the District cost any money?
This is being provided to families at no cost. However, our testing partner, North Shore Clinical will bill insurance (with no co-pay). If people do not have insurance, then the cost is fully covered.
Where can I find more information about the COVID Testing being offered in the District?
We consistently update our Testing FAQ Document. Please click here to view that document.
Should students receive a COVID vaccination?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and they are the best way to stop individuals from getting COVID. The District will be hosting events during the school year to assist interested families and students, as well as the greater community, with vaccination efforts. A recording of a webinar on Vaccines for School Age Children presented by local infectious disease physicians and immunologists can be found here.
Are students required to get a COVID vaccination?
No. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommend that all children above the age of 12 be vaccinated. IDPH notes that, “vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit COVID-19 to others than people who are not fully vaccinated.” To find a COVID vaccine location, please visit vaccines.gov/60126. Additionally, students who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine when exposed to a COVID-positive person.
Should the proof of vaccination be provided to the school?
Yes. This will help school personnel report the most accurate information to the DuPage County Health Department, avoiding unnecessary quarantines for students, who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination records can be uploaded at this link.
Are staff members required to be vaccinated?
Yes. Consistent with an Executive Order issued by Governor Pritzker on August 26, 2021, all school employees and vendors are required to be vaccinated or if not vaccinated, undergo testing at least weekly. While there are exceptions for people with disabilities, those with medical exemptions, and those with deeply held religious beliefs, over 91% of our D205 staff members are fully vaccinated with others in the process of getting vaccinated.
What do the District’s Cleaning Protocols look like?*
*Updated Sept. 24, 2021
District 205 is fortunate and thankful to employ a caring and committed team of custodians who enhanced the cleaning of high-touch surfaces during the last school year. In District 205, custodial teams are regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces using disinfectants from the US EPA COVID-19 List and cleaning practices consistent with CDC guidelines. Between lunch periods, custodial teams clean and disinfect the entire room before the next students enter.
Additionally, if someone in the school has had COVID symptoms in our schools, then additional cleaning and disinfecting occur.
What is the District doing to enhance ventilation and air circulation in schools? *Updated Oct. 8, 2021
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve implemented layers of air quality protection to ensure the health and safety of our school community.
- Ventilation systems were checked and tested prior to the start of the school year to ensure appropriate air circulation in school buildings. The systems were also cleaned at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, the systems are routinely checked as part of our ongoing maintenance program and also when there is an instance of a COVID-19 positive case in one of our students and/or staff.
- We continually monitor air quality through testing recommended by ASHRAE standards. (See question below about air exchange in classrooms)
- We set our HVAC settings to maximize ventilation as possible in order to bring in as much outdoor air as possible.
- Additionally, during the 2020-21 school year, the District purchased and installed portable HEPA filters for some of our classrooms across the District for situations where circulation was not at the highest levels or where students or staff members needed specific accommodations.
- We have additionally upgraded to the highest recommended level of MERV-rated filters in each individual classroom univent and in each building’s ventilation system that each specific system can accommodate. MERV-rated filters may differ among areas of the buildings because of the age and design of the buildings and ventilation equipment.
- Every morning, prior to the start of the school day, the air inside of each school and D205 building is flushed for a minimum of two hours with the dampers open as fully as possible to maximize fresh air intake. After the last night-shift custodian has left, the air is again flushed for another hour. This flush out is a process whereby outdoor air is forced through a building for a period of time.
- We have encouraged people to open windows, where possible, including in classrooms and on school buses and other transportation. We have also encouraged teachers to open classroom doors and use child-safe fans which can improve airflow.
- We are keeping exhaust systems running all day, every day (24 hours a day/7 days a week).
- We are encouraging outdoor activities, including meals and classes when possible.
What are the MERV filtration levels in our schools? *NEW Question: Oct. 8, 2021
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating system is recommended by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and industry and equipment standards. (Filters are assigned a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) and provide a measure of the “filter efficiency." The rating ranges from 1 to 16) There are a variety of HVAC systems in our buildings such as rooftop units, unit ventilators, dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS), air handling units (AHU). The MERV filtration levels may differ between areas of the buildings because of the age and design of the buildings and ventilation equipment. In all cases, we have increased the MERV filter to the highest level recommended for the equipment that exists. Our filters are changed out three times per year.
How often is air exchanged in the classrooms? *NEW Question: Oct. 8, 2021
Systems in all buildings have been set to pull in air from the outside based on engineer designs according to ASHRAE parameters and building codes. In addition, we have C02 monitors/sensors that have been built into newer HVAC systems. When the sensors determine an increase of C02 in many of our classrooms, they automatically bring in additional outside air. We also use capture hoods and anemometers to assess airflow.
When will you update HVAC systems in older buildings? *NEW Question: Oct. 8, 2021
When a new HVAC system is installed in a building, we have historically put in upgraded MERV-rated units. As part of the Master Facilities Plan, funded by the November 2018 referendum, new HVAC systems have already been planned for Fischer, Jefferson and Jackson schools. In addition, the new Field and Lincoln Schools will have upgraded MERV rated units. In all, approximately $20 million in HVAC upgrades are planned as part of the modernization of our schools with the Master Facilities Plan.
Is the District planning to use any of its ESSER funds for ventilation upgrades? *NEW Question: Oct. 8, 2021
ESSER funds have been used to provide technology equipment for remote learning, masks and other PPE, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, thermometers, tents, tables, chairs, screening, testing, summer academy and salaries for virtual teachers. It is additionally being used to provide social emotional learning supports and programs for our students. We have sought and received funding already for our facility improvement projects through the successful 2018 referendum.
What else should we know about ventilation in our schools? *UPDATED Oct. 8, 2021
Because ventilation and air quality are just one mitigation factor in combating transmission, we continue to reinforce layered mitigation strategies including hand washing, physical distancing, and good hygiene with students and staff.
Where possible, we have encouraged people to open windows including in classrooms and on school buses and other transportation. We have also encouraged teachers to open classroom doors and use child-safe fans which can improve airflow.
What do sports look like in our schools this year?
The IHSA has indicated a return to typical athletic activities for the 2021-22 school year. For middle school teams, this is also the expectation. At the present time, the sports safety guidance is available at this link. Additional information from the IHSA is available on their website at this link.
Are students allowed to use lockers this year?
Yes. Students are allowed to use lockers this year.
What does the cafeteria look like?*
*Updated Sept. 24, 2021
District 205 maximizes physical distance as much as possible when moving through the serving lines and while eating (especially indoors). Additional spaces will continue to be utilized outside of the cafeteria for mealtimes and to facilitate distancing. Where possible, we have increased circulation and ventilation by opening doors and windows in cafeteria spaces to help reduce the risk of transmission.
The health information and related procedures continue to change frequently. Reports pertaining to variants, mitigations, COVID spikes, and booster shots are expected. As a result, this plan remains fluid, and will be routinely monitored and revisited at regular intervals. District 205 will continue to monitor local health and safety metrics, which includes school community transmission and positivity rates as well as close contact and quarantine information.
District 205 leaders are prepared to pivot if needed and are determined to keep schools open. What families will not hear is a District plan to close schools. If necessary, District 205 will redouble efforts and layer mitigations with a focus on maintaining a healthy school environment.
The pandemic has created challenges. Through it all, the school community remains proud and celebrates students for their resilience, care, and compassion. D205 leaders will also continue to echo the necessity of fostering a climate of respect and acceptance for all community members, regardless of vaccination status or views on masking. District 205 will move forward together in service to all D205 students and families.
Questions or concerns about this plan can be provided by email to email@example.com.
Moving Forward Together 2021-22
January 9, 2022
Dear Elmhurst District 205 Community,
As you may be aware, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) have announced that schools can begin to follow the CDC guidance for schools that was released on January 6, 2022. The primary change in guidance is related to isolation and quarantine.
Elmhurst District 205 will be fully adopting the updated guidance. Students who began isolation and/or quarantine on or before January 6, 2022, may be eligible to return to school beginning Tuesday, January 11 consistent with the expectations in the new guidance and our school teams will be reaching out as quickly as possible to return students to school.
We will continue to communicate openly, and carefully monitor updates related to COVID-19. In addition, our layered mitigations remain in place with a strong focus on maintaining a healthy school environment.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please visit the DuPage County Health Department’s website, the Illinois Department of Public Health website. Additionally our Forward Together page will be updated with the latest information in the days to come.
I thank you in advance for your continued patience and support. Together, we can all stay safe and remain committed to providing in-person instruction for our students.
Dr. Keisha Campbell
Superintendent of Schools
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205