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 April 8, 2022 and will continue to be updated as new guidance is received.
- District 205 COVID Metrics
- Masks and Face Coverings
- Health & Safety
- Cleaning and Ventilation Procedures
- Extracurricular Activities, Lunch, and Lockers
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.
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?
For the limited number of students who are away from school or required to quarantine by the health department, 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.
We are aware that RECENT changes impact each of us in different ways, and we remind everyone of the importance of respect and kindness as we move forward.
Are students required to wear masks?
As of Friday, February 25, 2022, masks are optional for all students, staff and visitors. One exception to this is that the nurses offices are considered health offices and anyone entering these spaces must wear a mask when entering these spaces.
Who do I contact if my child has a medical condition that requires him/her to wear a mask during the day?
If you believe that your child needs a special accommodation in order to be in school safely, please contact your child’s IEP or 504 team.
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?
Parents will be contacted to develop a plan.
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.
When should I keep my child at home?
In order to keep students safe and healthy, we ask that students stay at 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.
What should I do if my student has symptoms of COVID?
We strongly encourage anyone with symptoms of COVID to get tested.
In general, when a student is sick, they should seek the guidance of a medical professional if they have additional questions. In all situations, the student’s symptoms must have resolved (i.e. fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, vomiting and diarrhea have been gone for 24 hours cough is gone, sore throat improved, etc.)
As a continued service to our community, we offer COVID testing onsite at our Bridges Transition Center by appointment through the school nurse. Click here to locate other testing locations near you.
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).
Students and staff who have used an at-home test will not be in the DuPage County Health Department system. Parents/guardians should contact their school nurse for alternate return to school guidance following a positive COVID test.
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. The Health Department will provide guidance for families in other situations.
If my child is unable to attend school due to COVID-like symptoms, should his/her siblings also stay home from school?
People in this situation should work with the DuPage County Health Department and a medical provider for additional guidance.
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. At this time, given the low rates of community transmission, we are providing notifications to families only on an as-needed basis. For example, we have notified families when there are clusters of cases in buildings or in classrooms so that they can be aware and monitor for symptoms if appropriate. Additionally, 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.
In times of higher community transmission, parents may 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 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.
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?
Quarantines are being handled by the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD).
Once notifications have been made, then the parent/guardian and the school nurses will collaboratively determine the best option for the student.
- Participate in the Test-to-Stay Program - 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.
To participate in the Test to Stay Program, parents/guardians must complete two forms:
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.
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 5 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. Vaccination records can be uploaded at this link.
What do the District’s Cleaning Protocols look like?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.