State Adopts New Covid Guidelines Ahead of New School Year

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 13, 2022 at 8:29am

The State of Illinois has adopted new COVID-19 guidelines for K through 12 schools.

In a joint announcement Friday, the  Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are adopting new operational guidance for schools and early education from the CDC that eases some restrictions.

The new guidelines drop the requirement for quarantines and ease physical distancing rules. Under the new guidelines, schools are still encouraged to follow the CDC’s new operational guidance on best practices for all infectious diseases and keep students home if they are ill, and use testing to confirm or rule out COVID-19 and other infections.

Schools are also required to continue to provide remote learning to any student who is under isolation for COVID-19 based on the State Superintendent’s Remote Learning Declaration.

The CDC says that although COVID-19 continues to circulate, the risk of severe illness has been reduced due to high levels of vaccinations and infection-induced immunity, along with the widespread availability of effective treatments and prevention tools.

The CDC school guidance also continues to recommend universal masking when community levels are high, and screening testing for high-risk activities such as close contact sports or band, or during key times in the year such as prom or the return from holiday breaks.

The CDC says monitoring community levels can help schools and local health departments, as well as individuals, make decisions based on their local context and their unique individual needs.