District 54 COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies - FAQ

Questions about COVID-19

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms include

  • Fever (Temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F/38 degrees C)
  • New Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sore Throat
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle or Body Aches from an Unknown Cause
  • Fatigue from an Unknown Cause
  • New Onset of Moderate to Severe Headache

You can reduce your risk for by taking simple steps, including the following.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or a tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as you are able.

Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19, who is awaiting test results for COVID-19 or who shows any signs or symptoms of illness of COVID-19 listed above must stay home. Parents/guardians will be called to pick up any student who exhibits symptoms at school.

Symptomatic individuals who have NOT been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 may return to school after one of the following occurs, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated:

  • Symptoms have resolved,
  • Negative PCR test or
  • Alternative diagnosis.

Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status.

Please report cases of COVID-19 to your school so that we can initiate contact tracing. District 54 is required to report all positive cases and close contacts to the Cook County Health Department, which has the final authority for who needs to quarantine and for how long.

Current Guidance (as of 8-23-21) requires that individuals who test positive and are symptomatic remain home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms and not return until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications. Individuals who are positive and asymptomactic should remain home for 10 days after the positive COVID test. See the District 54 Student and Employee Exclusion Chart for more details.

The school will contact anyone who met with the positive individual for up to two days prior to the onset of symptoms or the receipt of a positive test result. Fully vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive case. 

Unvaccinated individuals who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days from their last contact with the positive person and monitor their symptoms. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not need to quarantine.

The CDC defines a close contact as someone within 6 feet for a cumulative of 15 minutes to a confirmed case when masks are not worn and contact is unvaccinated or when masks are worn but the exposure setting is not in the classroom. If both the positive individual and close contact are correctly masked in the classroom, close contact is defined as within 3 feet.

If an individual exposed to a positive case develops symptoms, they must quarantine for 10 days from onset of symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.

The SHIELD Illinois saliva test is administered weekly at school to students and staff who have opted in to SHIELD testing in order to identify infected individuals who are asymptomatic and prevent further transmission of the virus. Students are asked to spit in a vial. The samples are sent to a lab for processing and results are usually available within 24 hours. Any positive results will be shared with parents/guardians, District 54 and the Illinois Department of Public Health.  More information is also available at sd54.org/shield-testing.

Free drive-up SHIELD Testing is also available for individuals who were exposed to a COVID-19 case from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days at the District 54 Rafferty Administration Center, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg. View theD54 SHIELD Testing Referral Flyer for more details.

During periods of minimal virus transmission, the BinaxNOW nasal swab test may also be administered by the nurse at school to any student or employee with COVID-19 symptoms. This test involves a single swab being rolled inside both nostrils. Results are available in 15 minutes. The BinaxNOW test may also be administered to asymptomatic individuals who are close contacts to positive cases.  If an individual tests positive, a diagnostic test will be advised. Parents/guardians will be contacted whenever their child is tested. If your child tests positive, you will be asked to pick them up for isolation at home. If your child has symptoms, but tests negative, we recommend that you contact your healthcare provider about the need to take a diagnostic test. 

Please fill out the District 54 COVID Testing Consent Form and return it to your child’s school to have your child participate. You may opt your children out of one or both of these tests by completing the D54 COVID-19 Testing Opt-Out Form or submitting proof of vaccination. 

On May 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 12 and older. 

Vaccination appointments can be obtained through the following links.

Questions about In-person Learning

Yes. Classroom seating is configured with at least 3 feet between students. 

Small group instruction will return while adhering to 3 feet minimum of social distancing.

Elementary students will resume traveling to specials, differentiated math and acceleration classrooms while adhering to 3 feet minimum of social distancing.

Schools established procedures that include multiple entry points and allow for appropriate social distancing during arrival and dismissal times. 

Signage and floor markings have been added throughout all schools to support social distancing and one-way directional traffic flow in the schools. Students will be allowed to use hallway lockers, but will be encouraged not to linger at the locker.

At the junior high level, locker rooms are closed. Students will not change into PE uniforms.

District 54’s plan for in-person instruction during the 2021-22 school year will be less reliant on technology. Students will engage in small group, differentiated instruction as they have in years past. While they will still have devices, they will also engage with books, share materials, write with pens and pencils, and work on hands-on projects. 

Yes with the following guidelines in place.

All parents/guardians must screen their child for symptoms each morning before sending their child to the bus stop. Children must remain at home if they have any symptoms.

Students must be at their stop at least 5 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time to maintain a safe and timely arrival at school. If other children are at the bus stop, please ensure that your child’s mask is on and children are in line at a safe distance from each other.

Seats will be assigned on the bus. Siblings may sit together. At school, students will be dismissed from the bus by school staff. Students will exit the bus from the front to the back.

Buses are disinfected twice daily and windows will remain open on days when the weather allows.

Questions can be directed to [email protected] or (847) 357-5104.

Masks may be removed while eating but should be immediately placed back on when finished.

Supervisors sanitize desks/tables before and after eating. 

Lunch locations are arranged to maintain 3 feet of social distancing between individuals.

Students who are eligible for free lunch will receive those meals.

Yes. Masks can be removed outside.

Limited volunteers will be allowed in 2021-22 in order to practice social distancing in schools. Visitors are required to wear masks and sign in when they enter the building. This will be used should contact tracing be necessary.

The D54 protocols are based on public health information available at this time. These may be adjusted as new guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and other public health officials is received or as necessary to best support the health and safety of our students and employees. All updates will be posted online at sd54.org/reopeningd54 and shared with our families and employees. In District 54, we are continuously preparing for a variety of scenarios and, as always, we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.

Yes, for students or someone in the student’s household has a medical condition that requires the student to remain in remote learning. Please refer to the information below about completing a Remote Learning Accommodation Form. District 54 Remote Learning Accommodation Form 2021-2022

Students placed in mandatory quarantine by the Cook County Department of Public Health due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being identified as a close contact to a positive individual will be provided the opportunity to participate with their classes virtually if they are medically able to do so.

Questions about Masks

All students, staff and visitors will wear masks while on District 54 provided transportation and in District 54 schools regardless of vaccination status in accordance with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order issued August 4, 2021.

The face mask should have two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 and should be worn over the nose and mouth, be secured under the chin, and should fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps.  Reusable face masks should be machine washed or washed by hand and allowed to dry completely after each use.

Neck gaiters with two layers of fabric are acceptable. Bandanas and masks with exhalation valves or vents are not acceptable alternatives.

Masks are required while indoors in all classes, including during indoor PE and while singing. Students may remove face masks while eating or drinking and outside (for example during recess and PE).

Yes. We are requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear masks in schools. Although the majority of our employees are fully vaccinated, even those individuals will wear masks around students. 

The current guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education approves them for staff but says they would need to be worn with a mask for most situations. Unless the guidance from the state changes, students have to wear masks.

A physician’s order is required for any student or employee seeking to be exempt from wearing a face covering. The order must specifically state the medical reason for the exclusion and be verifiable with the ordering medical professional. Anyone with a medical exception will be encouraged to wear a face shield as they are able.

Please complete the Face Mask Accommodation Form and submit it to your child’s school in order to be considered for medical exemption from wearing a mask or other face covering while at school or school events. School personnel require at least 10 days to review and respond to each request. During this time, the student will be in remote learning.

Families should send children to school in masks from home that cover their mouths and nose. District 54 has disposable masks available for people who come to school without a mask.

Questions about Remote Learning

Remote learning instruction will be based on the District 54 curriculum but designed specifically for remote learning. District 54 teachers will lead these classes; however, your child’s teacher may not be from their school. Social-emotional learning lessons will continue to be embedded in the curriculum to support the unique needs of students during this pandemic. 

Every student approved for remote learning will have an individualized Student Remote Learning Plan, as required by the state of Illinois. The Remote Learning Plan will include more information on the expectations, processes and schedules, as well as the term of your child’s participation. Should you have any further questions, please contact your child’s teacher.

Additional videos for support with navigating iPads, Chromebooks, Infinite Campus, Zoom and other technology programs and software, can be found on the D54 VLearning Family Resource website.

Yes. District 54 is a 1:1 district, with all students in early childhood through second grade having an iPad and all students in third through eighth grade having a Chromebook.

Dates will be set for supply pickup in August 2021, so that students can receive any technology, textbooks and other supplies necessary to engage in virtual learning.

People experiencing problems with District 54 technology (Chromebooks and iPads for students) should email [email protected] so that we can troubleshoot the problem.

Yes. All students are expected to be present and engaged for synchronous learning. Attendance is taken daily. If your child is unable to participate, please call the attendance line. Please ensure you call even if your child is missing only part of the day (for example, to attend a doctor’s appointment). 

Remote learning is provided by School District 54 due to a medical accommodation. Home school instruction is provided by the child’s family. The Illinois State Board of Education has a website with more resources for families considering home schooling: https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Homeschool.aspx.

Support for Financially Struggling Families

Families that need pens, pencils, papers or additional school supplies should contact their school office. Supplies for students have been donated to our schools through Schaumburg Township and the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce.

District 54 has WiFi hotspots available for financially struggling families who cannot afford internet service. We understand that some families are experiencing slow speeds or problems with their providers, and we ask you to report that directly to your provider and save the hotspots for families that have no other option. If you need a hotspot, please let your school principal know.

In addition, Comcast is offering new customers 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service. After your first two free months expire, you can either cancel the service or keep it as a regular paying Internet Essentials customer (at a cost of $9.95 per month). You will receive an easy to use self-install-kit that includes a cable modem (to receive service at your home) with a WiFi router (to connect your devices without wires). There is no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee for equipment. To sign up, applicants can visit internetessentials.com or call (855) 846-8376 for English and (855) 765-6995 for Spanish.

Students attending school in person who qualify for the free lunch program receive their lunches at school. In addition, families can pick up lunches and milk on weekdays at their school if their child is in remote learning. If you need this assistance, call your school office to ask about lunch pick-up times and procedures. Visit the D54 website for more information on qualifying for this program.

District 54 has reopened its food pantries by appointment only. Reach out to your school social worker if you have a need for this service or visit our Food Pantry website.  In addition, the Schaumburg Township Food Pantry and many faith-based charities are providing food to families in our community. Click here to access a list of these pantries on the Schaumburg Township website.

Other Questions

All District 54 students with an IEP or 504 Plan will continue to receive services.

The school members of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will be in contact with you regarding the specific services for your child. Teams will share the plan regarding how the services will be provided and the schedule that will be followed in order to do so. These services may be individual or in a small group. The staff will also provide the appropriate accommodations and modifications as listed on the IEP. 

Please feel free to contact your school principal or your child’s case manager regarding any questions you might have.

Schools may host assemblies and family activities, as long as they maintain 3-6 feet of social distancing while indoors. 

Following the protocols identified above, District 54 is able to offer music, junior high athletics program, and other clubs and extracurricular activities during the 2021-22 school year.

District 54 has increased its daily cleaning protocols at all buildings, with an emphasis on repeated cleaning of high-traffic areas and high-touch areas (such as desks, tables, light switches, doorknobs, banisters, drinking fountains and sinks).

Disinfectant has been provided to ALL staff so that cleaning can occur throughout the day.

The air filtration or HVAC systems in our schools pull in outside air, which gets sent through regularly serviced air filters and into the building. Our classrooms do NOT recycle the same staff and student air all day long – the system is pulling in outside air throughout the day and moving this air through the building. Our air filters are regularly serviced as are our HVAC systems to ensure they are working efficiently and providing appropriate ventilation throughout the building.

Summer maintenance projects included replacing exhaust fans and adding air handling units that increase air exchange.  Our school air exchange rate is 10-12 times per hour and exceeds public health safety recommendations.

This is an evolving situation. Stay up to date by consulting the following web sites:

Don’t see an answer to your question? Contact your school principal or the Communications Department at [email protected].