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Return to School Plan

2021-2022

This 2021-2022 Return to School Plan has been developed in accordance with the American Rescue Plan (APR) Act and the Illinois State Superintendent of Education declaration of July 9, 2021; is aligned with guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and addresses adjustments needed in response to evolving COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. The Return to School Plan was discussed at the July 13th and July 21st school board meetings and the district’s Return to Learn Transition Committee on July 29th.

The Reopening Plan was amended at the February 16, 2022 School Board Meeting in response to the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules (JCAR) ruling- February 2022, which struck down Governor Pritzker’s request to renew his emergency COVID Mitigation Rules and February 17, 2022, the Appellate Court for the 4th District ruling on the Sangamon County Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Judge Grischow on February 4, 2022.  Amendments to the Reopening Plan are highlighted in red.

The primary goals of our return plan are to:

  1. Create and maintain a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students and staff as we adjust our COVID-19 mitigation plan to updated IDPH guidance.
  1. Reduce to the extent possible the number of students who have to be quarantined from school as a close contact to a positive

Below are the key layered prevention strategies cited by the CDC/IDPH and the Peru Elementary School District 124 plan for returning to school.

 

#1 Promoting vaccination

Achieving high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among eligible students as well as teachers, staff, and household members is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely resume full operations.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Students who have provided the district with proof that they are fully vaccinated will not have to be quarantined from school or activities if they are identified as a close contact with a positive. They will however be required to wear masks while indoors at school and on a school bus.

 

#2 Consistent and correct mask use (Amended Below) 

Masks for unvaccinated persons are the most effective measure to prevent transmission. When teachers, staff, and students consistently and correctly wear a mask, they protect others as well as themselves. The IDPH and CDC strongly recommends that masks should be worn by all individuals (age 2 and older) when indoors and when in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN:

Indoors: Peru Elementary will begin the school year with ALL students and staff wearing masks. This policy will be re-evaluated in late September using local transmission rates, school positivity and quarantine data, and in consultation with the LaSalle County Health Department.

 

Outdoors: To the extent permitted by applicable laws and regulations, masks will not be required for outdoor activities such as recess, PE, or mask breaks. Some outdoor activities may require masks during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

School Bus: All individuals must wear face coverings when being transported on a school bus including extracurricular activities.

 

Visitors: All visitors will be required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.

 

Amended February 16, 2022

Masking for Students, Faculty, and Visitors is highly recommended but not mandatory per JCAR Ruling- February 2022

#3 Physical distancing

Because of the importance of in-person learning, schools where not everyone is fully vaccinated should implement physical distancing to the extent possible within their structures, but should not exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement. Based on studies from the 2020-2021 school year, IDPH and CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary will continue to have students in classrooms socially distance at least 3 feet while indoors. During lunch when masks will be removed, we will increase distancing to the greatest extent practicable.

 

#4 Screening testing to promptly identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks Screening testing identifies infected people, including those with or without symptoms (or before development of symptoms) who may be contagious, so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission. In K-12 schools, screening testing can help promptly identify and isolate cases, quarantine those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated, and identify clusters to reduce the risk to

in-person education.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary strongly encourages families to have their unvaccinated children participate in the district's SHIELD Illinois screening program. SHIELD Illinois is a noninvasive, saliva-based PCR test that would be administered one time weekly. Participation in this program can reduce or eliminate an unvaccinated student’s chance of being quarantined if exposed to a positive case in the classroom setting. This preventative measure will increase the overall safety of our schools.

#5 Ventilation

Improving ventilation is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. Along with other preventive strategies, including wearing a well-fitting, multi-layered mask, bringing fresh outdoor air into a building helps keep virus particles from concentrating inside.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN:Mechanical (HVAC) systems at our school facilities are designed in accordance with modern building codes and engineering standards. With Parkside completed in 2009 and with the major addition and renovation project at Northview completed in 2015, the mechanical systems in our schools are newer and highly effective at monitoring occupancy levels and providing code-required fresh air exchange. The District maintains these systems using best practices including regular filter changes and other periodic maintenance per CDC guidelines in regard to COVID-19. We will however take additional measures when feasible such as cracking windows as the CDC recommends without compromising the security of our buildings.

 

#6 Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

People should practice handwashing and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes) to keep from getting and spreading infectious illnesses including COVID-19. Schools can monitor and reinforce these behaviors and provide adequate hand washing supplies.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary students did an excellent job last year of wearing masks properly, using hand sanitizer, and washing hands frequently. We will continue to have sanitizing stations in all classrooms and positioned throughout the building.

 

#7 Staying home when sick and getting tested

Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. It also is essential for people who are not fully vaccinated to quarantine after a recent exposure to someone with COVID-19.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary per IDPH and CDC guidance will no longer require temperature checks or health screenings prior to entering school or the school bus. It is essential that parents continue to monitor their children erring on the side of caution when any COVID-19 symptoms may be present.

#8 Contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine (Amended Below) 

Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 (cases) and people who they came in contact with (close contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. Fully vaccinated persons who remain asymptomatic and those with documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days are excluded from quarantine. In Illinois, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine is required per Part 690 Control of Communicable Disease Code, Subpart I. Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that people can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19According to the new IDPH and CDC close contact definition, classroom students who were within 3 to 6 feet of the infected student are not treated as close contacts as long as both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks and other K-12 school prevention strategies (such as universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, increased ventilation) were in place in the K-12 setting. In other words, only classroom contacts within 3 feet require quarantine as long as both the case and the contact were consistently masked. If they were not consistently masked, then close contacts are classroom students who were within 6 feet of the infected student for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary will continue to work with the local health department with regard to contact tracing and quarantining unvaccinated students and staff when necessary per IDPH and LaSalle County Health Department guidelines. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated or are participating in the SHIELD Illinois screening program will not be forced to quarantine if exposed to a positive case in the classroom setting when both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks.

 

Amended February 16, 2022

Exclusion of Close Contacts will be eliminated per JCAR Ruling- February 2022

  1. IF A STUDENT/EMPLOYEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:
    1. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must do the following:
      1. Stay home for a minimum of five days and after the first day of symptoms or the specimen collection date from positive viral test for asymptomatic persons.
      2. 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, and any coughing has significantly subsided. When returning after 5 days, you are encouraged to wear a mask at all times and, to the extent possible, maintain 6 feet apart from anyone when eating/mask is off.
  2. IF A STUDENT/EMPLOYEE HAS COVID-19 LIKE SYMPTOMS:
    1. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must immediately be excluded from school until: 
      1. Receiving a negative test result that confirms the symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19; or 
      2. For a minimum of five days and a maximum of 10 days until fever free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours, diarrhea/vomiting have ceased for 24 hours, other symptoms have improved, and any coughing has significantly subsided.
      3. 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, and any coughing has significantly subsided. When returning after 5 days, you are encouraged to wear a mask at all times and, to the extent possible, maintain 6 feet apart from anyone when eating/mask is off.

#9 Cleaning and disinfection

In general, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove potential viruses that may be on surfaces. Disinfecting (using disinfectants on the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency COVID-19 list) removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection.

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary will continue our COVID-19 cleaning schedule and practices when school resumes. This includes daily cleaning of all classrooms and surfaces and cleaning of all surfaces between lunchroom groups.

 

Remote Learning - Limited Exceptions Only

Illinois State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala issued the following declaration mandating in-person learning with limited exceptions:

 

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, provided that, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, remote instruction be made available for students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, only while they are under quarantine consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

PERU ELEMENTARY 124 PLAN: Peru Elementary will follow State Superintendent Ayala’s declaration and only provide remote learning support for those students who are under quarantine.

 

Visitors and family engagement activities (Amended Below)

Peru Elementary will continue to limit visitors, volunteers, and external groups or organizations. All visitors must wear a face covering when entering district buildings regardless of vaccination status. Decisions regarding fall events will be determined at a later date after assessing local metrics and guidance.

 

Masking for Students, Faculty, and Visitors is highly recommended but not mandatory in light of the the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) ruling- February 2022, in which JCAR declined to renew certain expired Emergency Rules of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

 

Assessing and Reevaluating our COVID-19 plan and policies

Peru Elementary School District 124 will continue to assess, reevaluate, and if necessary adjust our COVID-19 plan and policies based on updates from the CDC, the State of Illinois (including but not limited to the IDPH and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the LaSalle County Health Department.)

In late September all district mitigation strategies will be reviewed using regional and local transmission rates, school positivity and quarantine data, and in consultation with the LaSalle County Health Department. We are confident that with your cooperation and support we will suppress COVID-19 in our schools and be able to relax mitigation strategies in the coming months.

 

Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health Link:

https://www.isbe.net/Documents/ISBE-School-FAQs-20210802.pdf

 

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Peru Elementary District 124 1800 Church Street Peru, IL  61354

Phone: 815-223-1111 FAX: 815-223-0490

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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