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Flossmoor School District 161

2021-22 Frequently Asked Questions [updated 9-10-21]

All Information is Subject to Change Based on Health Department Guidance


Remote Learning

1. Given the Delta variant, won’t District 161 reconsider offering remote learning?

Answer: A return to remote learning is not 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:

Districts must provide remote instruction to any student who is under quarantine or excluded from school consistent with guidance or requirements from a local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health. This includes students who are not in-person due to the district entering into an adaptive pause after consultation with the local health department.

2. What metrics are being used to determine a return to remote learning in District 161?

Answer: District 161 will be closely monitoring 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, unless directed by the Department of Public Health. We are bound to follow ISBE guidance which says remote learning can only be offered under certain parameters as described below:

Districts must provide remote instruction to any student who is under quarantine or excluded from school consistent with guidance or requirements from a local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health. This includes students who are not in-person due to the district entering into an adaptive pause after consultation with the local health department.

3. What will quarantine learning look like?

Answer: If it is determined that a student does need to quarantine, parents will receive a copy of this letter which outlines the learning process during the quarantine period.


health safety / notification of positive cases

1. Do I still need to complete the daily certification form for my child?

Answer: A form does not need to be submitted, however you should still monitor your child for COVID-19 systems which include checking for fever before school EACH day. Parents/guardians should not send students to school who are sick. If a student presents COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, they will be placed in the quarantine room until picked up. Students who are close contacts to a positive case and symptomatic students will be in the quarantine room until picked up to go home.

2. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Answer: Symptoms include fever, 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 and muscle or body aches from unknown cause.

3. What if my child becomes sick during the school day?

Answer: If a student presents with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, they will be placed in the quarantine room until picked up. Students who are close contacts to a positive case and symptomatic students will be in the quarantine room until picked up.

4. If my child has symptoms of COVID-19, do they need a COVID-19 test to return to school?

Answer: If your child has COVID-19 symptoms he/she should be tested (RT-PCR) test.If your child is not tested, he/she must stay home for 10 days.

5. What information is needed for test results?

Answer: Student’s name, birthdate, test type, and results all must be identified on the report.

6. If one of my children has symptoms, do the others need to stay home and quarantine?

Answer: Yes, unless fully vaccinated. If fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, he/she can attend school. Check with the nurse for further guidance.

7. Who should I contact if my child is ill?

Answer: All absences should be reported to the attendance line at your child’s school. If your child is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you should also contact the nurse at your child’s school.

8. What information should be reported to the nurse regarding COVID-19?

Answer: Please report if anyone in the home is waiting for COVID-19 results, has COVID-19 symptoms, or if a close contact to your child has COVID-19. In cases like this, please keep your child home from school.

9. What if my child has a runny nose or allergies?

Answer: If your child has any COVID-19 symptoms, he/she cannot attend school. A runny nose or nasal congestion is not a COVID-19 symptom in isolation. If you have questions about whether or not to send your child to school, please contact the building nurse for further guidance.

10. Will parents be informed if an individual in their child’s class tests positive for COVID-19?

Answer: Elementary parents will be informed if an individual tests positive for COVID-19 in the building and also if the individual is in their child’s class. Junior high parents will be notified if an individual in the building and also in the grade level tests positive for COVID-19.

11. Who gets notified of a case of COVID-19?

Answer: District 161 nurses will be notifying all students, staff, and parents deemed to be close contacts (possible exposure) of the individual.

12. What is the definition of a close contact?

Answer: CDC defines a close contact as an individual not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. For students in the indoor classroom setting, contacts who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student do not require quarantine as long as both the case and the contact were consistently masked. If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within 6 feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.

13. When are close contact notifications sent out?

Answer: This depends on when we are notified that there is a positive case. For SHIELD testing, results generally arrive early in the morning, which means that individuals may receive phone calls or emails about quarantine notifications prior to the school day starting. Please make sure your contact information is updated in Skyward so we can reach you as quickly as possible.

14. Where can I find out how many cases each school has?

Answer: We track that information for the public as part of our D161 COVID-19 Dashboard.

15. If my child is in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, do I need to call in all absences daily?

Answer: No, daily calls will not be required.

16. What if my child is exposed to a COVID-19 case outside of school?

Answer: All close contacts must be reported to the nurse.

17. Can my child come to school if anyone in the home is waiting for COVID-19 results?

Answer: No, if your child or anyone in the home has been tested for COVID-19 and you are waiting for the results, your child may not come to school. Contact the nurse at your child’s school for further guidance.


Masking / Personal Protective Equipment

1. What is the mask policy in District 161 schools?

Answer: Masks are mandatory for all adults and PreK-8th grade students inside of the schools and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status. They will not be necessary at recess, etc. Cloth masks should be washed daily. Disposable masks should be disposed of daily. 

2. If we prefer our child to wear a mask outside, is that allowed?

Answer: All students and adults are welcome to wear a mask outside if they choose.

3. Can our child use a face shield instead of a mask?

Answer: Students and adults may use a face shield in addition to a mask.

4. What happens if my child drops or loses their mask at school?

Answer: The school will provide your child with a mask to use for the remainder of the school day. It is recommended that students have more than one mask at school.

5. How will noncompliance with masking and other safety guidelines be handled at school?

Answer: Masks are mandatory for all adults and PreK-8th grade students inside of the schools and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status. They will not be necessary at recess, etc. Students and adults will be frequently reminded to wear a face mask while in District 161 schools and everyone will share in the responsibility of reminding each other of the face mask expectations.


Vaccinations / Screening

1. Is the district requesting proof of vaccination from teachers?

Answer: Yes, the district has requested that proof of vaccination be submitted to Human Resources.

2. Can a parent request a vaccinated teacher?

Answer: No.

3. What percentage of staff members are vaccinated?

Answer: As of 9-8-21, approximately 86% of staff members are fully vaccinated.

4. How do I notify the district if my child is vaccinated?

Answer: Vaccination cards should be emailed to healthservices@sd161.org

5. Will the District be utilizing SHIELD or BinaxNOW testing for students?

Answer: SHIELD testing will begin the week of September 7, 2021. The District will soon be able to offer BinaxNOW testing. For more information regarding testing, please click here.


Quarantining and Contact Tracing

1. Do students need to have a negative test result in order to return to school if they test positive?

Answer: No, a test is not required to return to school at this time. However, all students who are positive must quarantine for 10 days from symptom onset or test date, whichever is later.

2. Do students need to present a negative test result in order to return to school if they are a close contact?

Answer: If the student has symptoms, a negative PCR test is required to return to school. If the student is a close contact, a negative test is not required to return to school. This guidance is based on our current quarantine time frame.

3. If a family member of a student contracts COVID-19 but the student does not have COVID-19, does the student still quarantine?

Answer: Yes, per the guidelines of the Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH]. All unvaccinated close contacts to a positive case of COVID-19 must quarantine and should test in 5-7 days.


Travel

1. Will my unvaccinated child need to quarantine if we travel outside of Illinois?

Answer: No.


Lunches / Snacks

1. Will parents have the option to pick up their child and have lunch in the car instead of eating in a large group?

Answer: Yes.

2. How far apart will students be when eating lunch?

Answer: As far as possible. Not closer than three feet. We are utilizing as many spaces as possible including the lunchroom/gym, outdoor areas, and classrooms.


Facilities, Cleaning, and Sanitation

1. How will the bathrooms be maintained throughout the day? Will they be cleaned after each use?

Answer: Classrooms that are used for lunch will be cleaned a minimum of two times per day (once after lunch and a second time after school is over). All other classrooms are cleaned after school is over. All classrooms are cleaned with a product effective in killing the SARs (COVID-19) virus and are sprayed down using an electrostatic sprayer. Bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times during the day. All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned multiple times per day. To continuously clean the buildings, night cleaning crews will be deployed during the school day to assist with the cleaning. Every room will have a check sheet that will be signed to monitor the cleaning of each space and by whom.

2. What kind of quality controls and service audits will be conducted to ensure that the enhanced cleaning requirements of the school and buses are being satisfactorily met as agreed upon?

Answer: The cleaning of the school buildings will be monitored by the Director of Buildings and Grounds as well as the Custodial Supervisor daily. Signed check sheets will be required after each classroom and bathroom is cleaned and high standards will be expected. We will view video tapes of the inside of the buses periodically to ensure compliance with cleaning protocols. In addition, every teacher will have their own supply of cleaning wipes in their classroom.

3. Does the district have a concrete plan on the purchasing of these supplies, considering the demand for these products will likely be incredibly high?

Answer: We are continually reviewing our supplies and reordering as needed to prevent running out. Currently the district has no shortage of cleaning supplies.

4. Will extra sinks / hand sanitizing stations be installed in classrooms / throughout the school?

Answer: Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom.

5. How will proper hygiene be maintained for the younger kids?

Answer: Proper hygiene will become a part of the teaching process. Reminders, lessons in handwashing, and mask wearing will be stressed throughout the day. Frequent hand washing breaks and hand sanitizer will be consistently administered.

6. Who decides the safety and cleaning protocols covering bus drivers, janitorial staff, lunch servers, all of the other adults that the children come into contact with during the day?

Answer: Protocols will be put in place by the District Administration and contractual service providers and it will be guided by IDPH guidance.

7. Can you tell us more about the ventilation / circulation of the air in the classroom and school?

Answer: All classroom unit ventilators/air handling units cycle fresh, filtered air into the classrooms. The air is refreshed approximately five to seven times per hour. Filters in these units are changed four times throughout the school year and in keeping with best practices. These filters are MERV rated and capture fine particulate, and are treated with an antimicrobial agent to aid in the elimination of spores and viruses.

8. Will water fountains be able to be used?

Answer: Bubblers on water fountains will be covered so they are not usable, while the water bottle filling stations will remain open.