Section 4:180 Addendum
Safety Protocols During a Pandemic
It is our highest priority to keep our students and staff safe. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented additional safety protocols and procedures that follow the guidance from Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Illinois Department of Public Health Guidance
One of the guiding principles the District adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic is to follow the guidance of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Center for Disease Control (CDC). These guidelines will be followed at the District completely.
District 27 Safety Protocols
What are the guidelines for face coverings?
Face coverings must cover one’s mouth and nose, and fit snugly against the sides of the face with no gaps. Acceptable face coverings include: disposable face coverings, cloth face coverings that can be laundered, or KN95 masks. The CDC does not recommend the use of athletic face coverings or neck warmers. Face coverings with valves are not permitted. In conjunction with 6 feet of social distancing, face coverings will be worn at all times, by each individual, except during lunch, outdoor classes (including PE), and outdoor recess.
If a student or staff member is unable to wear a face covering safely, a medical certification is required, which will be reviewed on an individual basis by the District 27 Administration. However, a remote learning/working environment in all likelihood will be assigned for that individual.
How will physical distance be maintained?
When in the school buildings, each student and staff member should remain 6 feet away from another individual whenever possible. All student desks will be spaced 6 feet apart and the teacher will have a space in front of the class that will maintain the 6 feet of distance. In addition, signage will be placed throughout the schools to direct the flow of traffic in the buildings/hallways. Wood Oaks Junior High will also have directional signage for stairwells - either going up or down, not both.
What is the process to enter school buildings each day?
The District requires a daily self-certification (health questionnaire) to be completed for both students and staff prior to entry into the school building. Student/staff ID cards will be scanned upon arrival to confirm that the self-certification has been completed. A “green” light will appear if that individual has already completed the daily health questionnaire, or “red” light will appear if they have not. Any individual who receives a “red” light must step aside for further assessment.
In addition to the daily health questionnaire, each individual will have their temperature read via a free-standing, non-contact temperature reader. A “green” or “red” light will appear after each scan. If an individual receives a “red” light, they must step aside for further assessment.
How will symptoms of illness be managed throughout the school day?
The District will implement a COVID-19 Exclusion Guidance entitled: Decision Tree for Symptomatic Individuals in Pre-K, K-12 Schools and Day Care Programs. The District will follow this guidance.
The flowchart includes direction to quarantine. Each building will have an identified isolation room for immediate quarantine if deemed necessary by the school nurse until parent/guardian pick-up. The child will be accompanied out of the building by a staff member. Staff members who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms will be asked to leave the school building for further medical evaluation.
If a student is sent home sick with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, must all their siblings/household members be sent home as well and quarantined for 14 days?
If any of the household members is being evaluated for COVID-19, the rest of the household must be quarantined until an alternative diagnosis is made or a negative result received. If the sick student becomes a confirmed case or probable case, the CCDPH will conduct contact tracing and will provide guidance on how to safely quarantine and isolate within the household.
What are the cleaning/sanitation protocols?
Cleaning and sanitation protocols include classrooms, restrooms, high-touch surfaces throughout the building, lunchrooms, and nightly cleaning. Hospital-grade/EP- registered disinfectant cleaning supplies will be used in all areas. Technology equipment will be cleaned and sanitized using specialized cleaners.
Will the schools have hand sanitizers?
Hand sanitizers will be provided in all the buildings. Free-standing and wall-mounted hand sanitizers will be placed through the buildings for student and staff use.
How will the District handle restrooms?
All restrooms in District 27 will be completely cleaned nightly with a hospital-grade/EPA-registered disinfectant. During the school day, the restrooms will be periodically monitored for supplies and cleaned with the same product. Additional custodial staff will be added to assist with cleaning and sanitation tasks. All restrooms will have signage on the walls and floors. Students and staff will be expected to adhere to 6 feet of distancing while in the restrooms. Students will be trained on restroom use and protocols.
How is the District addressing ventilation in the schools?
The District will document best practices with our HVAC systems, including filters, increased air flow, and preventive maintenance. In addition, windows will be opened if feasible to assist with fresh air flow. The District will periodically have the HVAC engineer inspect the equipment and make recommendations for improvements.
What is appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette?
When students need to cough or sneeze, they should use the standard etiquette of coughing or sneezing into their bent arm with their face covering on. Students will be reminded of this etiquette by the staff.
What are the safety protocols for transportation?
The District will implement the following safety protocols for transportation service.
- Students must wear a face covering at all times on the bus.
- No more than 24 student riders will be allowed per bus to enhance 6-foot physical distancing.
- The following cleaning/disinfecting procedures will be implemented by North Shore Transit:
- Each bus will be cleaned and disinfected prior to the first route of the day.
- Drivers will wipe down and sanitize touchpoints, i.e. handrails, seatbacks, steering wheels/controls, etc., after every route.
Will each school have specific arrival and dismissal procedures?
Each building will develop specific arrival and dismissal procedures that will be implemented for students and staff. These procedures will be posted on each school website.
Will the Northbrook Park District program follow the same protocols as District 27?
The Park District will adhere to the safety protocols as outlined by Northbrook School District 27. The Park District personnel are expected to know and adhere to District 27 safety protocols.
Will supplies be shared in the classroom?
Supplies will not be shared in the classrooms. Students will be given many supplies and others will be acquired by parents. If any supplies are used in the classroom, they will be cleaned, sanitized, and quarantined in accordance with the IDPH guidelines before being used with another class of students.
What are the safety protocols during lunch and recess?
Students will be divided into cohort groups for lunch. They will be separated by at least 6 feet. Per the IDPH guidance, students will be permitted to take off their masks to eat and then put them back on while inside the school building. There will be a recess time provided during the lunch hour and, whenever possible, students will go outside and can remove their masks while physically distancing by 6 feet.
Recess times will be provided by teachers during the day, giving the students an opportunity for movement and also to take off their masks if it is possible to go outside. During the outside time, students can remove their masks while physically distancing by 6 feet. If recess is inside, students will need to wear their masks but will have an opportunity for movement.
What are the safety protocols for Band, Orchestra, and Chorus?
Band and orchestra lessons will be provided remotely for all students, and will be conducted at times that are not interfering with their core academics.
- Orchestra students will have some small ensembles because the students can play their instruments safely in a space that is adhering to 6 feet of physical distancing.
- Band students will have an opportunity to gather together to build a culture of ensemble, but no wind instruments will be played so as to not cause any safety concern for the students and staff. The teachers will provide instruction on music concepts, rhythm, ensemble protocols, and a culture of performance community.
Chorus will be temporarily suspended and re-evaluated as new guidance is provided that would permit safe participation.
What are the safety protocols for extra-curricular activities?
During the pandemic, no extra-curricular activities will be held at least for the beginning of the school year. These activities will be re-evaluated as the year progresses. There will be no sports activities as this would require travel to other districts, it would be difficult to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
What is the definition of close contact?
Close contact (with or without a face covering) involves anyone who was within 6 feet of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (with or without a face covering), for at least 15 minutes throughout the course of a day. The period of close contact begins 2 calendar days before the onset of symptoms (for a symptomatic person) or 2 calendar days before the positive sample was obtained (for an asymptomatic person). If the case was symptomatic (e.g., coughing, sneezing), persons with briefer periods of exposure may also be considered contacts. Close contacts to a confirmed case of COVID-19 are required to remain in quarantine at home for 14 calendar days starting from the last day of contact with the confirmed case.
Close contact is determined by the length of time an interaction with another person occurred. An interaction with another person for less than 15 minutes is not considered cumulative contact. What this means is that a teacher may have contact with students individually for less than 15 minutes, and this interaction is not considered close contact.
Who will do contact tracing?
Contact tracing will be performed by the Local Health Department (LHD), sometimes in partnership with CCDPH or a community-based organization. However, schools can assist the CCDPH by identifying all close contacts with a confirmed or probable case. Documentation of assigned seats and taking photos of assembled classes can be useful in helping schools determine who was within 6 feet of a given case.
The District will be adhere to confidentiality laws pertaining to school student records, including exceptions for release of information in the event of an emergency and requirements to notify parents and create a record of emergency releases of information. (105 ILCS 10/6(a)(7); 23 Il. Admin. Code 375.60).
Is contact tracing only performed when a positive test is received?
Contact tracing is performed for a confirmed case (laboratory confirmed positive) or a probable case (person with clinically compatible COVID-like symptoms and epidemiologically linked (known exposure) to a confirmed case or testing positive by an antigen test).
If a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case is identified in a classroom, or on a school bus, who will be considered close contacts that need to be quarantined for 14 calendar days? Will this include the entire classroom or all the students on the bus?
Exposure in a classroom should be limited to everyone with whom the confirmed or probable COVID-19 case had close contact, within 6 feet, for at least 15 minutes throughout the course of a day. Exposure on a bus must include everyone who sat within 6 feet of the confirmed or probable COVID-19 case for 15 minutes or longer. A possible approach to identifying close contacts on a bus would be to include persons who sat 3 rows in front and 3 rows behind the confirmed or probable COVID-19 case.
If someone has previously tested COVID-19 positive, do they need to be sent home if ill or do they need to be quarantined if named as a close contact?
Individuals who tested COVID-19 positive within the past 3 months by PCR or Antigen test should not have a suspicion of COVID-19 reinfection, and therefore, do not need to be excluded, isolated or quarantined for a period of 3 months prior to onset date or specimen collection date if asymptomatic.
If the close contact and the COVID-19 case were both wearing their cloth face coverings when the exposure occurred, is the close contact still required to be quarantined?
Yes. While there is strong evidence that face coverings significantly reduce the risk of infection, the likelihood for transmission cannot be ruled out.
Is a physician’s note required to return to school after a “close contact” to a case completes 14 calendar days in quarantine?
A Release from Quarantine letter from the local health department would need to be provided by the parent/guardian or staff member to return to school/work.
What is the definition of an outbreak in schools?
Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections occurring within 14 calendar days of each other in individuals in the same classroom would meet the case definition for an outbreak. This is because the cases would be epidemiologically linked (known exposure to) with respect to place (same classroom) and time (within 14 calendar days). This would prompt an investigation by the LHD that may result in recommendations for testing and quarantining all students/staff in the affected classroom.
What kind of PPE is required for staff who clean areas used by a suspected or known COVID case?
If a member of our maintenance team is cleaning an area used by a suspected or known COVID case, it will be safest for them to be wearing a fit-tested N95 mask, eye protection with a face shield or goggles, gown, and gloves.
Will there be safety signage throughout the school buildings?
Each school will have signage placed throughout the school building to remind students and staff of the safety guidelines that must be followed. Signage will address at least four areas and any other areas as determined to communicate safety measures:
- Proper use of face covering
- Adherence to 6 feet physical distancing
- Proper hand hygiene
- Directional signage in the hallways
Are visitors allowed in the school building?
We will limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations, as possible. Visitor management procedures will be developed. This will include the recording or documentation of the individual's reason for visit, contact information, and all locations visited, in case contact tracing is needed. Hand sanitizer will be readily available for visitors to use upon entry.
Will the schools notify parents/guardians, students, and staff of a positive case of COVID19?
Yes, the schools will be notifying parents/guardians, students, and staff of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In addition, the schools will work in partnership with the local health department to provide relevant information needed for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 infection for use in surveillance and contacting tracing public health activities.