SEA Covid-19 Update Center
Infectious Disease & COVID-19 Policies 2022-2023
NOTE: This policy document replaces all prior Soaring Eagle Academy COVID policies and provides the policies and protocols that will be in place effective August 22, 2022. These policies are based upon the most recent guidance received from local, state and federal agencies and have been adapted as necessary to meet the needs of our school environment and population. These protocols and policies may be changed and updated at any time with or without notice upon additional information, guidance or recommendations received from local, state or federal agencies. This document is not intended to address all possible applications, or exceptions to, the policies and procedures described herein or otherwise in place at SEA. Further, this document does not confer any contractual right, either express or implied with a SEA community member.
Soaring Eagle Academy (SEA) continues to review and update its policies based upon the guidance of the relevant agencies including the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the DuPage County Public Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) in order to build upon and update its policies to make the school as safe as possible for its students and staff in the face of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. SEA will continue to institute appropriate, layered prevention strategies to support keeping the in-person learning environment safe and uninterrupted for students and staff during times of fluctuating community levels/transmission rates to the best of our ability.
As of April 4, 2022, SEA moved to a mask optional environment. SEA will continue its mask optional policy for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. SEA reserves the right to revert back to mask mandates if determined to be necessary based upon local community levels/transmission rates and/or the recommendations or mandates of the above local, state and federal agencies. SEA continues to encourage the use of masks for students and staff upon individual needs. Please refer to Response to Outbreak section for additional information.
There are a few exceptions to the above mask optional policy. Face masks will be required for any student or staff member entering the School Nurse’s Office, when a student or staff member are being assessed for symptoms. Additionally, face masks must be worn by staff and students when returning from isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. To be eligible for the reduced isolation, students or staff returning to school after 5 days without any symptoms, must stay masked with a well-fitted mask at all times through day 10. Those who are unable to mask, are not eligible for return and must isolate for 10 days.
While daily temperature checks and health screening self-certification is no longer required for students or staff, parents/guardians and staff are strongly encouraged to monitor for symptoms and stay home and isolate if symptoms are present. Specifically, the following symptoms should be monitored: fever (100.4°F or higher), new onset of moderate to severe persistent headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste or smell. If such symptoms appear, parents/guardians are requested to contact the School Nurse to discuss testing and isolation requirements. Staff should contact the HR Director.
When Symptoms Occur at School
If any of the above symptoms appear during school hours or activities, the student will be referred to the School Nurse and staff will be referred to the HR Director, for initial evaluation and possible isolation from others and ultimately sent home and advised to complete COVID-19 testing and/or referred to a medical provider for evaluation and treatment of suspicion of COVID-19 or other infectious disease. Proof of negative testing may be requested prior to return. Other protocols may include:
- The school nurse will assess the student as an initial evaluation. Based upon the nurse’s findings, the student will either stay in the classroom/pod system if symptoms are confirmed to be unrelated to COVID-19 or will be separated and placed in a designated isolation room for next steps.
- PPE/Enhanced PPE may be provided and required for staff, as determined to be necessary by the school nurse, and only necessary staff will remain in the isolated room until the family arrives.
- The family will be notified to come to SEA immediately to pick up their student and/or given the option to come to school to administer one of the school’s COVID-19 test kits, if available, or to bring their own COVID-19 test kit to administer directly to their child. SEA and its School Nurse will not administer COVID-19 tests at school. Regardless of vaccination status, all students or staff presenting with COVID-19-like symptoms are recommended to test.
- If not tested by their parent/caregiver at school, the student/parent will be advised to take their student to a testing facility or administer a COVID-19 home test with return to school information provided based on test results. Student must have a negative test result to return to school.
- Students are required to seek COVID-19 testing and/or medical evaluation by a healthcare provider if symptoms occur in or outside of school. If displaying symptoms of COVID-19, SEA requires that students present a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to in-person learning. If a student tests negative and there is an alternative diagnosis, students must meet the specific criteria of the diagnosed condition prior to returning to school and healthcare provider’s note with the alternative diagnosis may be required in order to return. Remote learning options, if required, will be available to students during a time of isolation or if there is a community outbreak.
- SEA may contact the local public health department for case specific guidance and disclose student information, as necessary, for public health safety purposes.
- Sanitation procedures and precautionary measures will be taken within the immediate space affected if the individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or has a probable case of COVID-19 has been in the space within the last 24 hours.
- Notifications will no longer be sent to the SEA community when an individual is sent home during the school day with symptoms that may be related to COVID-19.
Student and staff exhibiting symptoms will be given information about when they can return to school, per the then-current IDPH COVID-19 Interim Exclusion Guidance for schools and our school policies. SEA follows the latest IDPH’s COVID-19 Interim Guidance for Schools Decision Tree Recommendations for Evaluation Symptomatic Individuals from Pre-K, K-12 Schools and Day Care Programs, which is subject to modification with or without notice. Families/caregiver may be given the option to come to school to administer a COVID-19 test to their child in order to test-to-stay.
Positive Cases & Isolation
Students and staff with a positive case of COVID-19 or have any of the above symptoms and choose not to test are required to isolate.
When a student or staff member tests positive, if they can mask upon return, they will be required to isolate for at least five (5) calendar days from onset of symptoms; and may return after the five (5) calendars days if:
- The individual has no fever for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication); AND
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting have ceased for at least 24 hours; AND
- There is an improvement of symptoms; AND
- The individual can consistently mask upon return through day 10.
If the individual is unable or unwilling to mask, student or staff will be required to isolate for ten (10) days prior to returning to school. SEA will no longer be conducting contact tracing and may only provide general notification to the school community of a positive infectious disease case in the school for monitoring purposes.
SEA encourages those who may be exposed to COVID-19 to get tested, monitor symptoms, and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days following the exposure.
Other Mitigation Strategies
SEA will continue to promote daily hygiene procedures. Staff will provide hand-over-hand support when needed in order to ensure thorough and safe hygiene and handling procedures. As part of daily programming the following will be incorporated into the student schedules, as applicable: 1) practicing wearing masks in the school building when required, for example when a student returns from quarantine or isolation and/or during an outbreak; 2) proper removal and storage of mask while eating or drinking on site, as appropriate; 3) proper hand washing procedures; and 4) physical distancing on site, as appropriate.
Students will resume eating lunch at their pod assigned time within their designated lunch area. Disposable materials are suggested for transportation of lunches and snacks. All non-disposable food items will be handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water. Areas where students and staff consume food will continue to be cleaned thoroughly.
Building Cleaning & Sanitation
As guided by the ISBE, IDPH, CDC, and OSHA, SEA has developed cleaning and disinfecting procedures that are utilized throughout the school day. This includes more frequent cleaning and disinfection necessary to reduce exposure. Training continues to be provided to staff to ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfecting procedures are utilized. In addition, signage will be posted to remind all personnel of appropriate cleaning policies and procedures.
While most of the spaces in the building have returned to their original layout and function for social, educational and eating purposes, SEA continues to monitor and promote appropriate physical distancing guidelines per ISBE, IDPH and CDC recommendations and follow recommended sanitation and cleaning procedures for these areas. SEA has also returned to the use of shared spaces, resources and materials in the classroom and will follow agency recommendations for sanitation of any shared materials.
In accordance with CDC guidance for schools and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), SEA maintains improved ventilation in the building in consultation with our HVAC professional based on local environmental conditions (temperature/humidity) and ongoing community transmission in this area and increased the percentage of outdoor air (OA) using economizer modes of HVAC operations, upgraded our HVAC unit air filters to recommended levels utilizing MERV-13 air filters for better central air filtration to capture more particulates in the air and increased the use of portable HEPA filters around the site. We will continue to monitor guidance set forth for schools from governing agencies and inform our school community of future updates.
Response to Outbreak
In the event of an identified COVID-19 outbreak at SEA or in the local community, as determined by the school and in consultation with local and/or state agencies if needed, or if based upon a high community transmission rate or Executive Order, additional layers of mitigation may be reinstated within the designated area or schoolwide, for the health and safety of students and staff. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Mandatory masking
- Maximization of physical distancing in the school environment to the extent required or possible, and possible changes to pods and classrooms to support distancing.
- Close contacts (persons not up to date with COVID-19 vaccination who are within six feet of a case for 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period) may also be required to quarantine and/or isolate and staff close contacts may be required to do the same or test-to-stay. Test-to-stay options may exist for students if determined to be appropriate under the circumstances of the outbreak. Reduced quarantine periods may also be available for students returning to school after 5 days if masks can be worn at all times through Day 10. Those unable to consistently wear a mask should be excluded for 10 days of quarantine in accordance with then current guidance.
- Students who are probable cases or closes contacts and do not agree to test-to-stay, will be required to quarantine for at least 5 calendar days from the date of exposure or symptom onset, and may return after the five (5) calendars days if the individual has no fever for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication); AND diarrhea and/or vomiting have ceased for at least 24 hours; AND there is an improvement of symptoms; AND the individual can consistently mask upon return through day 10. If unable to mask, student or staff will be required to isolate for ten (10) days prior to returning to school.
- Daily health screening may be required.
- Test to stay for return to school may be required.
- Should contact tracing at SEA be required to resume, only close contacts may be notified of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at SEA, without personally identifying information of any student or staff revealed. The notification that is provided to any school community member will contain all of the information that is permitted to be disclosed in order for SEA to adhere to confidentiality laws. No additional identifying information will be provided. Where no exposure exists due to a student or staff member’s contagious period and last attendance in school, no notification will be shared. If required, SEA will share identifying information when necessary with required state and local public health authorities for public health safety and emergency reasons. Student/staff confidentiality and privacy is a priority at our school, and SEA will maintain the confidentiality of all student and personnel information as required by state laws and regulations and will only disclose information required and necessary by public health authorities for this public health safety purpose.
SEA intends to return fully to the in-person learning environment at its regular school schedule and calendar for the 2022-2023 school year and will no longer offer a remote learning option, subject to recommendations, mandates or Executive Orders by the local, state or federal government or agencies.
SEA will only provide remote learning for students who are placed under isolation under these policies or during a pod or schoolwide quarantine that is required due to an outbreak. Please refer to Learning Through Remote/Alternative Means section for guidance on remote learning.
Learning Through Remote/Alternative Means
If and when remote learning is required, SEA will continue to prioritize the confidentiality of each student’s personally identifiable information. However, there are always risks when utilizing internet-based telecommunication technology including videoconferencing or video chat options. While certain Internet-based, video-conference providers have certain safeguards in place to protect personally identifiable information from unauthorized disclosure, and SEA intends to enable available encryption and privacy modes to enable the remote learning option, there is always the possibility that viruses or other malicious software may obtain private information and release and/or use such information without the user’s knowledge. There may also be some level of risk that information communicated during a session in which telephonic or video-conferencing is used may be intercepted by and/or disclosed to unintended individuals. As such, we want our families to be aware of the following:
- Due to the nature of the teleservice session, a student’s session may be performed in the presence of other individuals, both intended parties and unintended bystanders. And, in some instances, it is possible that other individuals may overhear information relating to the student. There are likely other risks associated with this type of electronic communication that are unknown at this time as well.
- SEA cannot guarantee that parents/guardians of other students participating in your child’s group/classroom, or anyone else in the home of other students, will refrain from listening to, observing, or recording any group related services session or classroom activity.
- SEA may utilize online streaming of classroom instruction and activities in order for all students, both those in school and those participating remotely, to engage in programming and services. As such, there may be times when unintended disclosures may occur when students working remotely, and their family members or others in the home, are able to see and/or hear those students working in class. Any such disclosures will be considered incidental to the receipt of services remotely.
- To assist in safeguarding your child’s confidential information when receiving services through remote means, to the extent possible, you should choose a safe, secure and private location for your child to participate in the service; ensure that unintended individuals are unable to hear or see the session; use a secure, personal wireless connection and network; use a personal computer or laptop, if possible; and, do not share any passwords or account information, if applicable, with others.
- SEA requests that only the student and, if needed, a supportive adult, be present during the delivery of any individual or group session.
- Parents/Guardians and others in the home are prohibited from recording any classroom activity and or teleservice individual and/or group sessions.
Infectious & Communicable Illnesses
Students will not be penalized for missing school and are encouraged to stay home when not feeling well. A Parent must call the school at (630) 323-2900 or inform the SEA attendance email by 8:00 a.m. if the student will not be in school that day due to illness. Please give information about the type of illness and any COVID-19 symptoms your child is experiencing.
Required Exclusion (for staff and student illness):
- COMMUNICABLE DISEASES & COVID – Including but not limited to Coronavirus (including COVID-19)
- FEVER- a temperature at or above 100.4 requires 24 hours of being fever free without the use of medications, before returning to school.
- VOMITING – exclusion required for 24 hours after last episode of vomiting, without the use of medication. (Note: This does not apply to students with GERD, anxiety or other non-illness related regurgitation)
- DIARRHEA-exclusion required for 24 hours after last episode of diarrhea, without the use of medication.
- CHICKEN POX- until all lesions have crusted.
- CONJUNCTIVITIS (PINK EYE)- 24 hours after the start of treatment/antibiotics.
- MPETIGO- until 24 hours after treatment has begun.
- SCABIES- until the morning after treatment has begun.
- RINGWORM- until 24 hours after treatment has begun.
- HEAD LICE- until morning after 1st treatment.
- RASH- exclude if accompanied by fever.
- STREP THROAT- until after 24 hours of effective antimicrobial therapy and fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
- HAND, FOOT MOUTH- exclude if fever present or if child cannot avoid contact with others.
- OTHER COMMUNICABLE DISEASES- consultation with a medical care provider.
Parents are to contact the School Nurse if the student has been diagnosed with a contagious illness (including any of the above illnesses) so that proper precautions can be taken. A return to school note from a health care provider may be required if a contagious illness has been diagnosed.
This policy is devised under guidelines by the Center for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the National Association of School Nurses and the Illinois Control of Communicable Diseases Code.