CCDPH and schools are working together to keep children and staff healthy this coming school year.
This page is intended for administrators and staff from schools and daycares in suburban Cook County. Below you will find the latest guidance for the 2022-23 school year related to COVID and mpox prevention and control from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Everyday Strategies to Prevent Spread of Infectious Diseases in Schools
- Promote staying up-to-date on vaccinations.
- Implement policies that encourage students and staff to stay home when sick.
- Optimize ventilation systems.
- Reinforce proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Utilize proper cleaning and disinfection procedures.
Summary of recent changes in CDC guidance
- For those exposed to COVID-19, quarantine is no longer recommended
- Test-to-Stay is no longer recommended (because it is based around preventing quarantine [which is no longer required])
- Contact tracing is no longer required in schools
- Cohorting is no longer recommended
- Screening testing to focus only on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak
Best Practices to Reduce Risk of COVID-19 Transmission in Schools
- Closely monitor COVID-19 Community Levels and follow associated prevention strategies
- At a high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak, universal indoor masking is recommended
- People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection
- At a high COVID-19 Community Level, consider implementing screening testing for students and staff for high-risk activities
- People who are not able to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator should either isolate for 10 full days or follow the test-based strategy to determine when they can safely return to the school without a mask, continuing to isolate until testing criteria have been met
- During outbreaks, using a Test to Stay approach using either Shield and/or home testing can assist in mitigating the outbreak.
- Consider temporarily stopping these activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak, or during periods of high COVD-19 Community Levels
- If community levels are increasing or experiencing an outbreak, consider adding layered prevention strategies including wearing well-fitting masks or respirators, improving ventilation (for example moving school activities outdoors, opening windows and doors, using air filters), screening testing, and case investigation and contact tracing. Early identification of cases to ensure that they stay home, and isolate is a critical component of outbreak response
- Develop mechanisms to ensure that people with COVID-19 isolate away from others and do not attend school until they have completed isolation. Once isolation has ended, people should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others through day 10
- At a medium and high COVID-19 Community Level, people who are immunocompromised or at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection
- Students or staff who come to school with symptoms or develop symptoms while at school should be asked to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while in the building and be sent home and encouraged to get tested if testing is unavailable at school
- Consider offering diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the school, or refer them to a community testing site, healthcare provider, or to use an at-home test
- Report cases and outbreaks to your Local Health Department
- Consult with your Local Health Department about local conditions and factors when deciding to implement prevention strategies
For more information about COVID prevention, click here.
- IDPH School Guidance | IDPH & ISBE Joint Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Schools (Updated 07/05/22)
- CDC School Guidance | Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning (Updated 08/11/22)
- CDC Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
Monkeypox (MPV) is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. MPV is not as contagious as COVID-19 or the flu. The risk of monkeypox (MPV) to residents of suburban Cook County remains low, but we want people to know the signs and symptoms of MPV, so that they seek medical care if they have symptoms. It is most often spread through:
- Direct, prolonged contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
- Coming in contact with clothing, bedding or other items used by the person with the virus
- Respiratory droplets passed through prolonged face-to-face contact over several hours
Since mid-May, the CDC, state and local health departments have been closely tracking an outbreak of monkeypox (MPV) that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report the disease, including the United States. Most of the current MPV cases in the U.S. are occurring in social networks of men who have sex with men and individuals with multiple or anonymous sex partners. However, it is not limited to these individuals. CCDPH continues to respond to the monkeypox (MPV) outbreak in suburban Cook County. Currently, the risk to the general public is low. We have been actively engaged in a number of strategies to reduce the spread of MPV, including:
- Facilitating testing and conducting contact tracing for cases
- Ensuring contacts and high-risk individuals have access to vaccination
- Connecting high-risk cases to treatment
- Public communication and community outreach
For more information about monkeypox, click here.
- IDPH School Guidance – MPV | Human Monkeypox (MPV) Interim Guidance for Schools (Website | PDF Fact Sheet: Strategies for Preventing MPV Transmission in Schools – Updated 08/19/22);
- IDPH Daycare Guidance – MPV | Human Monkeypox Virus (MPV) Interim Guidance for Day Cares/Early Childhood Centers (Updated 08/16/22)
- IDPH Patient isolation procedures and prevention and control measures – MPV
- CDC Isolation and Prevention Practices for People with Monkeypox | MPV
Cook County COVID Metric
IDPH does direct-ship for some schools. CCDPH requires pick up in Oak Forest.
If schools work with the SHIELD program, they will also assist with the following for BinaxNOW: training, reporting, CLIA waiver, physician standing order. They will still need to order BinaxNOW tests through CCDPH or IDPH.
SHIELD signup via emailing Beth Heller, Senior Director of External Affairs for SHIELD, at [email protected] or clicking here.
COVID Vaccine Information
Reporting COVID-19 to CCDPH
COVID-19 Testing Information
Updated January 16, 2023, 4:30 PM