2022-23 COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan
Below you will find the district's health and safety plans for 2022-23. Heading into the fourth school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to prioritize the health, safety, and emotional well-being of our students and staff. As a school district, we plan to continue to use the everyday strategies that we know reduce the risk of disease transmission in our schools.
This year, we worked closely with District 200 to align our planning, in consultation with the Oak Park Department of Public Health, in order to streamline processes and create a coherent approach to COVID-19 for families.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership to keep our schools safe. It will take all of us—families, staff, community members—working together to have a safe and successful school year.
CDC guidance recommends “strategies for everyday operations” or actions schools can take every day to prevent the spread of infectious disease, including the virus that causes COVID-19. The following strategies will continue in all District 97 schools, as recommended.
- Promoting staying up to date with all routine vaccinations;
- Encouraging students and staff to stay home when sick;
- Optimizing ventilation systems (see section below for more details);
- Reinforcing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
- Utilizing proper cleaning and disinfection procedures.
The district will also continue to encourage distancing (at least 3 feet) whenever possible.
Students and staff must stay home when sick with COVID-like symptoms or other illnesses.
Following current Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Exclusion Guidelines, symptomatic individuals must stay home until they receive a negative test result that confirms the symptoms are not due to COVID-19 OR for a minimum of five days and a maximum of 10 days until 24 hours fever free with no fever-reducing medication AND no diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours, no active cough and nose blowing AND improvement of other symptoms.
Individuals who test positive must stay home for five days after the first day of symptoms or testing positive (Day 0) and follow the steps outlined below.
Individuals who test negative may come back to school once they are 24 hours symptom free (including no fever), however, it is strongly recommended that they wear a well-fitted mask around others for five days.
Following Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Exclusion Guidelines, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must stay home for five days after the first day of symptoms or testing positive (Day 0). They may return to school on Day 6 if they are 24 hours fever free with no fever-reducing medication AND no diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours AND improvement of other symptoms. Masks are strongly recommended around others for five days (through Day 10).
*NEW* Instead of emailing or calling their school nurse, families of students who test positive AND staff who test positive will be asked to complete a confidential COVID-19 positive case notification form. The information in the form will only be shared with:
- School health staff and building administrators, for the purpose of notifying families of potential close contacts.
- The Oak Park Department of Public Health (as required by law).
Families must continue to report student absences via the school attendance line, and staff must enter their absences in Frontline.
The district is committed to providing families with actionable information so they can make choices that fit their needs.
In positive cases, email notification will be sent to families and staff within the same class as the positive case, as well as families of students who ride the same bus or participate in the same district-sponsored extracurricular activity. Per state guidance, individuals who are close contacts are not required to quarantine unless they become symptomatic.
*NEW* In alignment with District 200, we are discontinuing our COVID-19 dashboard for the 2022-23 school year. We will continue to track cases internally, just as we do for other illnesses, and will provide all required information to the Oak Park Department of Public Health. Our website will provide links to the village’s weekly reports, as well as other resources for tracking cases locally.
To support continued academic progress when students are absent due to COVID-19, teachers will have the discretion and flexibility to determine the most appropriate and beneficial method of providing instruction to best foster student learning.
For students who test positive for COVID-19, absences will be marked as excused for up to 10 days.
*NEW* The Human Resources Department will create a flowchart that outlines the specific steps that an employee needs to take regarding reporting COVID-19 and recording time. The flowchart will include a link to a form to submit the information. (Coming soon!)
The Oak Park Department of Public Health determines if a group is in outbreak status based on information provided about positive cases. An outbreak is currently defined as multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff, within a specified core group. A core group includes but is not limited to extracurricular activity, cohort group, classroom, before/after school care, etc. If the health department declares an outbreak, the district may implement control measures to mitigate additional spread (e.g., testing and quarantining all students/staff in the affected classroom).
*NEW* District 97 will maintain a supply of over-the-counter, at-home antigen kits that may be offered to students and staff preemptively or at the onset of illness. The district will no longer offer weekly screening testing through SHIELD, but would maintain the ability to contract with SHIELD should additional testing be needed (e.g., outbreaks).
If you are in need of an at-home COVID-19 test, please reach out to your school nurse directly.
*NEW* Based on legal guidance, District 97 will not require weekly testing of unvaccinated employees at this time. We will continue to receive guidance from legal counsel. Home testing will be available, as needed.
Masks are strongly recommended, but not required. District will maintain a supply of masks for individuals who wish to use them. All students, regardless of whether or not they are wearing masks, will have equal access to classroom learning. Masks are required for anyone entering the school nurse's office.
The district will continue to follow industry standards for indoor air quality, and will remain diligent with regular maintenance and testing to ensure that all systems are performing at optimum levels. Outdoor air will be circulated as much as possible.
Concerts, field trips and other events may be held, assuming all appropriate mitigations are followed. Groups must work with principals to complete all required documentation. Masks will be required for all indoor events that include individuals who are not students or staff, indoor field trips and on buses to field trips. Buildings will work to move all events outdoors when possible.