Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, Sycamore schools will be following the protocols below with respect to COVID-19. The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) change from time to time, so we invite you to check this resource often. We will provide the date for the most recent update to ensure that this is current. If you are interested, you can review the CDC and IDPH school guidance by clicking on the appropriate links below.
The CDC, IDPH, and DCHD have consistently reported that vaccinations are the single, safest method to protect yourself against COVID-19. Vaccinations are required for staff, but not for students at this time. Staff who are not vaccinated will participate in COVID testing on at least a weekly basis. You can find locations to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at www.vaccines.gov.
Each quarantine decision is unique. Ultimately, the DCHD has the final authority on all quarantine decisions. However, we have had a strong history of working with the Health Department throughout the pandemic and those decisions are typically made together. We gather as much information as possible on each situation, communicate with the Health Department as needed, and then we issue decisions regarding quarantines. The protocols listed below are the foundation for our decision-making, but every situation is unique and may require that we deviate from these protocols. When that is necessary we will communicate that to the individual(s) and/or their family.
Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days.
Any individual who is a “close contact” will be considered for the following quarantine options. Quarantines start on day zero when the individual was in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.
- 14-days - This remains the “gold standard” as defined by the CDC, IDPH, and DCHD. It is the most cautious approach to minimize transmission. The individual can return on day 15.
- 10-day - If appropriate, this option may be used if the individual reports that they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms during their quarantine. The individual can return on day 11.
- 7-day - If appropriate, this option may be used if the individual reports that they have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms during their quarantine, AND the individual provides documentation of a negative PCR COVID-19 test that was administered on day 5, 6, or 7 of their quarantine. The individual can return on day 8.
- “Test-to-Stay” - If appropriate, this option may be used if both the positive individual and the “close contact” were wearing masks appropriately during the time of exposure regardless of vaccination status for either individual. Close contacts in this situation must submit to PCR or rapid antigen testing on days 1, 3, 5, and 7. If the test results on all of those days are negative, the individual can remain in school. The student must quarantine outside of school if the results are positive on any day, or if the student develops symptoms at any time during the test-to-stay protocol.
- If the IDPH has determined that a connection between two positive individuals is determined to be an “outbreak”, further actions may be taken to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Those actions may include quarantine requirements expanding beyond unvaccinated students who are “close contacts” to a positive case, or the “test-to-stay” option not being appropriate during an “outbreak”. Decisions regarding quarantine during an outbreak will be made in conjunction with the DCHD and communicated to impacted individuals and/or their families.
The Illinois State Board of Education has approved remote learning for students who meet both of the following criteria:
- The student is ineligible for the vaccine (which ISBE has identified as anyone under the age of 12), AND
- The student is currently quarantined.
If a student meets those criteria, a remote tutor will be assigned to the student and their family. Every effort will be made to support the student, and in order to do so properly, this process may take some time. We ask for patience as we implement this part of the protocol.
If a student is required to quarantine but does not meet the above criteria, the quarantine will be treated as a long-term illness. Instructional materials will be provided to the student either digitally or in hard copy. Classroom teachers will be available for communication and support via email, phone, or virtually as their schedule permits.