Health & Safety Protocols

District 34’s goal is to keep all students, in person, every day in the safest environment possible. To reach that goal, the District will continue to follow guidance from the leading public health agencies (as we have done throughout the pandemic). 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) adopted CDC's new guidelines for isolation and quarantine for schools. Therefore, if your child is currently in isolation or quarantine and has a new return-to-school date, you will see that new date in PowerSchool soon, and will receive an email with that information.

  • Ex: If your child was asymptomatic and tested positive on Tuesday, January 4 or before, they should return to school on MONDAY, January 10. (Those who tested Wednesday, January 5 can return Tuesday, January 11, etc.)

Recent Changes

There are two major changes to the IDPH/ISBE guidance for schools, released on January 11, 2022: 

  • Those who test positive must isolate and remain home from school for five days; they can return to school on Day 6 if symptoms have improved and fever free. The date of symptom onset or, if asymptomatic, the date of the positive test, is Day 0. Individuals must continue to wear a mask around others for five more days after returning to school.

  • 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 for close contacts entails two tests, with one occurring between Days 5-7. 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.

Individuals may return to school after five days if asymptomatic or if fever-free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved.

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.  

New Test to Stay Procedures

COVID Symptoms


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. 

Positive Case in Your Home?

If you experience a COVID case in your household, there are a few things you can do to keep your family healthy and increase our ability to keep your child in school when they are close contacts:

  • Isolate the positive case as best you can and maintain distancing as much as possible.
  • Wear masks. At this time, double masking or KN95 use is recommended. If you need additional masks for your family, please reach out to your school.
  • Keep windows open to increase air flow.
  • Reach out to your school health office if you have questions.
  • Get family members vaccinated/boosted when eligible. With the Omicron variant, data has shown that vaccinated individuals who test positive have mild cases, and vaccinated students have more options to remain in school when they are close contacts.

Staff members and students (or someone in that individual's household with whom it is not possible to mask and distance at all times) who are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test outside of SHIELD screening should remain home until they receive a negative test result. 

A Wording Change: Quarantine to Exclusion

On Friday, September 17, 2021, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-24 concerning school exclusion for individuals with confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, as well as those who are close contacts. The Executive Order requires all schools to exclude students and school personnel who meet certain COVID-19-related criteria regardless of whether an isolation or quarantine order has been issued by a local health department.

Note that this order does not change the District's health and safety protocols; however, it does change the vocabulary that we use. The District does not quarantine students; that is an act of the local health department. However, the District is required to exclude students from school who are positive or probable COVID-19 cases, and those who are close contacts. The District will continue to provide long-term absence instruction for students who must be excluded for these reasons. 

Health & Safety Protocols

FAQs: SHIELD Testing & Test to Stay

Vaccination for Children 5-11

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