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1-800-889-3931 or email: DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV


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COVID-19 Testing Info / COVID Hotline: 1-800-408-7351


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Revised IDPH Guidance for Schools: What You Need To Know

On September 22, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released updated guidance for schools in relation to in-person learning and COVID-19.

The revised guidance from IDPH/ISBE continues to express the existing mandate for mask usage inside schools along with other prevention strategies including contact tracing. Further, it requires school districts to continue excluding students who are confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, close contacts of positive cases, or have possible symptoms of COVID-19.

IDPH/ISBE did put forward a change for students who are presenting possible symptoms of COVID-19. Students who display possible symptoms, and are not a known close contact to a positive case, are to be tested within 48 hours of showing symptoms or, if testing is not performed, remain out of school for 10 calendar days. In regards to siblings of a symptomatic student, IDPH/ISBE allow siblings to remain at school if the symptomatic student is tested within 24 hours of presenting symptoms and is not a suspected close contact provided that test results are received.

This change does impact our protocol and we want to provide you with an update. These changes will go into effect on Monday, October 4, 2021.

What District 300 will continue to do: 

  • School nursing staff will evaluate students who are sick at school. If your child is sick while at school, please make sure to speak with a school nurse before your child leaves the school.

  • We will continue to contact those individuals who are deemed as close contacts from the school setting, informing families of the recommended guidelines per public health.

  • We will continue to offer early release options from school exclusion for situations occurring at school in cooperation with the Perry County Health Department. As originally shared on September 6, 2021, these options currently include:

    • Exclusion for 10 calendar days after the close contact’s last exposure to the COVID-19 case. Date of last exposure is considered day 0. The individual may end quarantine/exclusion after day 10 if no symptoms of COVID-19 developed during daily monitoring. Daily monitoring through day 14 will occur through e-mail or text message surveys from the health department sent to the primary point of contact provided by the parent/guardian. Completion of these daily surveys is required as part of the early release option.

    • Exclusion for 7 calendar days after the last exposure if:

      • No symptoms developed during daily monitoring AND the individual has a negative SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test (PCR) that was collected within 48 hours of exposure day 7 (starting on day 6 or after).Daily monitoring through day 14 will occur through e-mail or text message surveys from the health department sent to the primary point of contact provided by the parent/guardian. Completion of these daily surveys is required as part of the early release option.

      • The individual is responsible for obtaining a copy of the negative results from the testing facility for documentation purposes.

NOTE:  In the revised guidance, IDPH/ISBE have clarified that close contacts are to be out of sports competition for 14 days regardless of the early release options made available. We are allowing limited participation in extra-curricular clubs/sports to resume on day 11 as long as physical distancing can be maintained and masking occurs. 

  • We will continue to consider documented chronic health conditions when evaluating symptomatic individuals who are not known close contacts to positive cases.

What will change:

  • Per IDPH/ISBE, students who are symptomatic, but not close contacts, will need to COVID-test within 48 hours of presenting/reporting symptoms or will be excluded from school for 10 calendar days.

  • Per IDPH/ISBE, siblings/household members of students who are symptomatic, but not close contacts, will be able to remain at school as long as the symptomatic student is tested within 24 hours.


Given the above change from the state-level which increases testing expectations for students, we are investigating options for rapid testing of symptomatic individuals in our schools. In the meantime, the Rea Clinic in Du Quoin has rapid testing available to families each weekday during their regular hours of 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. This testing is submitted to family health insurance, but there is no out-of-pocket cost to families. Testing at Rea Clinic simply requires calling ahead. To access the Rea Clinic’s COVID-hotline dial (618)542-8702 then press #.

Please keep your child at home if they are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have pending COVID test results and inform your child’s school. Possible symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills 

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Nursing staff can answer questions about chronic health conditions and the return to school. Families of students who are a close contact to a positive case at school will be contacted by school nursing staff about the options for returning to school.

If you have questions or concerns related to a situation involving COVID-19 and your child, please contact your child’s school and the school nursing staff. If you have questions or concerns about the new guidance please reach out to IDPH at their COVID-hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or the Perry County Health Department at (618) 357-5371.

Guidance Chart