Updated Guidance: The Details

On January 11, IDPH and ISBE released updated health guidance for schools, with additional updates coming in FAQs sent on January 13. There are three primary changes to the guidance: 

  • Those who test positive must isolate and remain home from school for five days; they can return to school on Day 6. The date of symptom onset or, if asymptomatic, the date of the positive test, is Day 0.
  • Close Contacts (who are not eligible for test to stay – unvaccinated individuals who have not opted in to SHIELD testing or exposure outside of the home) also may return on Day 6 after exposure to a positive individual.
  • Test-to-Stay entails two tests, with one occurring between Days 5-7 (District 34 will test on Day 3 and Day 6).

Upon return, both positive cases and close contacts must wear a mask at all times including outdoors, maintain 6’ at lunch and during snack (whenever they are not wearing a mask), and closely monitor for symptoms for an additional 5 days.

We strongly encourage double masking (a cloth mask over a surgical mask, two surgical masks, or a KN95 mask if the fit and comfort level is appropriate). The District is providing KN95 masks to all staff and has a sufficient supply of surgical masks for students and staff who want them.

Test to Stay: Close Contacts
Students who are unvaccinated and are opted in to SHIELD testing and are close contacts in the school setting do not have to quarantine, and can test to stay. School staff will administer BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests on Day 3 and Day 6 after exposure. If either of those dates fall on a weekend or holiday, they will be tested on the next school day.

Mild (Non-COVID) Symptoms
If a student or staff member has symptoms that are NOT found on the COVID-19 Interim Exclusion Guidance for Schools Decision Tree, they will be able to take a BinaxNOW test at school. If the test is negative, they will return to class/work. Health office staff also will provide a Ravinia PCR test with instructions on how to administer the test and return it to the drop box at school.

COVID Symptoms (Vaccinated or Unvaccinated)
Students and staff members will be sent home if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • New onset of moderate to severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • New cough
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue from unknown cause
  • Muscle/body aches from unknown cause

The District will strongly recommend connection with their healthcare provider, and will provide them with a Ravinia PCR test. The individual cannot return to school until PCR results are available. If the test comes back positive, the isolation date starts from the beginning of symptoms. This is a COVID-related absence, so these students can participate in remote learning per COVID protocols (after 24 hours) while awaiting test results.

Our Health & Safety protocols will be updated by Tuesday, January 18 to reflect these changes.

Opting into SHIELD
We are strongly encouraging participation in SHIELD. Parents can opt their children into SHIELD testing at any time by contacting the building principal. 

Case Communication Changes & Dashboard Updates
Starting January 18, buildings will no longer send individual emails to staff and families about cases. Rather, the District will send a DAILY automated email reminder to check the COVID dashboard on the website. Dashboard updates will reflect cases and close contacts that came in from 3pm the day before to 3pm that day.

This move will ensure as much alignment with the District's reporting of cases to the health department and the reporting on the dashboard. There is a lag between the time that buildings receive a report of a case, and the time that they are entered onto the official District-wide report.

If you do not wish to receive these dashboard updates, you can change your notification preferences in PowerSchool. Login and click on the “SwiftK12 Alerts” icon in the left navigation bar. Then, click on the "Alert Preferences" gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll be able to choose the types of notifications you receive (and those you don’t!).