Updated March 10, 2020
We are closely monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 health issue in our state. As COVID-19 is a newly emerging infectious disease, we understand information may change over time. The information below is provided to district stakeholders and is based on the latest information from the Illinois State Board of Education’s document titled, ISBE’s Guidance to Schools on Coronavirus. We will continue to share updates through our typical modes of communications, such as: mass email and text messages, social media sites, and the district’s website and app.
1. Where can up-to-date resources and guidance on COVID-19 be found?
Tazewell County Health Department Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Phone: 309-925-5511 / Fax: 309-925-4381
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
2. Who would make the decision to close schools?
Local school districts, acting in accordance with guidance from IDPH and local public health departments, will make the final decision as to whether or not conditions require the closure of schools. It is our intention to make every effort to keep our schools open.
3. Are schools being advised to close at this time?
No. IDPH does not currently recommend closing schools.
4. Some districts have received requests from families wanting to “self-quarantine” their students with no proven medical reason. Should these students receive unexcused absences? Should such a student be labeled truant?
A parent may hold their student out of school for any health and safety reasons. While the district has the final say in whether the reason is truly a health/safety issue; these absences will not be counted as unexcused, and the student will not be labeled truant.
5. Can districts exclude students, staff, or volunteers for 14 days if they present at school after having visited a region affected by the virus?
No. If a student, staff member, or volunteer presents at school with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing after visiting an affected region, school authorities will locate the individual in the nurse’s office (or designated room) and immediately notify the local health department (and parents if the individual is a student). Individuals will be cared for by appropriate staff while awaiting direction from health department officials.
Districts cannot exclude or deny enrollment or education to students who are residents of the district based on a student’s travel history. Decisions to quarantine students must be made by state or local public health officials.
6. What are emergency days on a school calendar?
A minimum of five Emergency Days are included on the school calendar by districts for conditions deemed as emergencies that necessitate the closure of all district buildings. Typical use of emergency days include severe weather conditions, but would also include circumstances related to COVID-19. Emergency Days must be made up prior to the end or the school year.
7. What are Act of God Days on a school calendar?
An Act of God Day is a day that is used for a condition beyond the control of the district that poses a hazardous threat to the health and safety of the students. Act of God Days may only be requested after the district has exhausted all of its Proposed Emergency Days built into the proposed calendar. Act of God Days must be approved by the regional superintendent and the State Superintendent of Education. Act of God Days count toward the required number of student attendance days in the Public School Calendar and are not required to be made up.
8. Can our district use e-learning days in the event that there is widespread transmission of COVID 19?
No. For a number of reasons, our district is not participating in the current e-learning program in Illinois which allows school districts to adopt a research-based program for e-learning days district-wide that shall permit student instruction to be received electronically while students are not physically present in place of the district’s scheduled emergency days. At this time, the research-based program may not be used to make up attendance days beyond the minimum number of emergency days (5) in the approved school calendar. Our district has four of five scheduled emergency days remaining for use this school year. Although we are only required to make up days missed up to the five scheduled emergency days, our district will work to continue providing educational supports, activities, and opportunities for students in the event of school closures beyond the five emergency days.
We are working to develop an e-learning program. A variety of factors must be considered and input received from stakeholders to design and implement a program that will work for our students and school community. We anticipate our e-learning program being available for use by October of next school year.