January 12, 2022

Dear Henry-Senachwine Families and Staff:

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released updated guidance for public schools, which is effective immediately.

Summarized talking points of the new guidance:

1.  This new guidance does not change the state of Illinois’ mask requirement for anyone inside school buildings. The indoor mask mandate for school is still in effect until further notice.

2.  The isolation and quarantine time for students and staff members sick with COVID-19 or considered a close contact has been reduced to 5 days, pending certain criteria are met.

3.  Students aged 5-17 who have not completed the primary series of the vaccine would be considered close contacts who should quarantine or be excluded from school if exposed to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. 

4.  Individuals (age 18 and older if eligible) who have received primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine but have not received recommended booster doses would be considered  close contacts who should be excluded from school if exposed to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.

5.  Students and staff with COVID-19-like symptoms who do not get tested for COVID-19, must be excluded for five calendar days from the date of first symptom onset and be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications, vomiting and diarrhea ceased for 24 hours, and other symptoms have improved before returning to school and will be allowed to return to school as long as they wear a well-fitted mask through day 10. If symptoms persist, they should remain home up to 10 days.

6.  Students and staff who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 must be excluded from school and may not return until asymptomatic or symptoms have improved and at least after five calendar days have passed from the date of specimen collection of the positive test (Day 0) if asymptomatic or following onset of symptoms if symptomatic (Day 0) AND mask consistently through day 10. Individuals who meet the above criteria may return to school even if other household members are in isolation or quarantine in the home as long as they mask consistently through day 10. 

7.  The updated CDC guidance recommends that fully vaccinated persons test at least five days after the known exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 10 days after exposure.

8.  Persons who have completed COVID-19 primary vaccine series and are under 18, and persons 18 and over who have completed their primary series and recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots, and remain asymptomatic, and those with documented COVID19 infection within the past 90 days, are exempted from quarantine or exclusion. 

9.  Per the new ISBE/IDPH guidance, the “Test to Stay” option no longer applies if the close contact occurs during extracurricular events & activities.  If it is determined that individuals are a close contact through extracurricular activities, the most recent quarantine guidance applies.

10.  Review the chart below for quarantine criteria for a close contact:

The health guidance is always subject to change.  We appreciate your continued understanding as we adjust to the most recent guidance.


Dr. Michael Miller, Superintendent

Guidance and Protocol Links:

Updated CDC Guidance

ISBE COVID-19 Updates