Updated IDPH/ISBE Guidance & COVID-19 Update

January 12, 2022 

Dear District #7 families,  

On January 11, 2022, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-03, which adopts the CDC’s recently modified quarantine and isolation periods. As a result, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have both updated joint guidance for schools, consistent with the CDC recommendations and Executive Order requirements.  

Highlights of this new guidance include:

  • Individuals who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to return to school after 5 days providing they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms; however, returning students must remain in a masked environment. 
  • Student-athletes who test positive or are excluded due to exposure will be able to attend practice on day 6 after testing positive if they are not experiencing symptoms but must remain masked and will not be able to participate until day 11.  

PreK-2nd, CASTLE and FLS students only: If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Friday, January 7, 2022, your child may return on Thursday, January 13, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. If your child tested positive or was excluded on or before Wednesday, January 12, 2022, your child may return on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, as long as they are fever-free and not experiencing symptoms. Additional information regarding Kid Zone will be communicated later this evening. 

The process of reporting new COVID-19 positive cases, close contacts status or the onset of COVID-19 symptoms has not changed. As always, please continue to monitor students for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them at home if they are sick. 

 Even with the accelerated return of several staff next week, District #7 continues to see large numbers of new COVID-19 cases that are having a direct impact on our schools.  

  • 112 staff members are currently impacted through a positive test for COVID, either for them or someone within their care, or have someone who has been excluded because of COVID. 
  • At our primary schools, we continue to experience a student absence rate of between 25 and 30% district-wide.  
  • First Student, our bus company, continues to experience a shortage of personnel to run all required transportation routes. 

 Due to the substantial number of new cases, it continues to be difficult for District #7 and the Madison County Health Department to conduct prompt investigations to identify and to exclude close contacts. As a result of this, 3rd-12th grade students will remain in an adaptive pause and participate in remote learning through Friday, January 21, 2022. Our goal remains to return to in-person learning as soon as possible, and we will provide an update of our status on Thursday, January 20. PreK-2nd grade students and all students enrolled in the FLS/CASTLE programs will remain in person.   

 A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document that provides more information on updated IDPH/ISBE guidance and district procedures will be forthcoming. 

Again, we thank you for your continued support as we work through the impact and disruptions of COVID-19. It has been a trying start to 2022, but we will continue to push forward together.  

Patrick Shelton, Ed.D.