By: Elizabeth Wagman
On January 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-03 updating the exclusion protocols in schools for individuals who are a confirmed or probable case, a close contact, or symptomatic to reflect the shortened quarantine and isolation periods recommended by the CDC. This was then followed by ISBE releasing the following guidance documents:
- Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools: Supporting the Full Return to In-Person Learning for All Students
- Revised Public Health Guidance for Schools- FAQ
- Public Health Interim Guidance for Local Health Departments and Pre-K-12 Schools- COVID-19 Exclusion Protocols
- Interim Guidance of Testing for COVID-19 in Community Settings and Schools
- Test to Stay Protocol Flowchart
Schools should be aware that the Governor’s Executive Order which is explained in the abovementioned guidance documents limits the definition of a close contact, allowing more students and school personnel to stay in school despite a potential COVID exposure. It also allows confirmed cases, close contacts and symptomatic individuals to potentially return to school after 5 days of isolation/quarantine rather than the previous (10-14 day requirement). The intent of these changes is to try to keep schools open and students in attendance as much as possible, while also maintaining health and safety protocols aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.