Updated Guidelines Regarding Quarantining After Close Contact

Huntley 158 families,

On Wednesday afternoon we were notified by the McHenry County Department of Health of updated guidelines regarding quarantining of students due to close contact in a classroom with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. We are pleased that this change has been made, reflecting the concerns we and other area districts have voiced around this topic.

Definition of “Close Contact” Within Classroom Setting

  • Effective immediately, within a classroom space that is strictly adhering to mitigation interventions, close contacts may be defined as being within 3 feet of the confirmed case for a cumulative period of 15 minutes over 24 hours and not fully vaccinated. 
  • Appropriate mitigation will be assessed by the School Nurse or District’s liaison and discussed with MCDH staff. 
  • This new guideline effectively reduces the distance defining a “close contact” from 6 feet to 3 feet within the classroom setting.
  • All fully vaccinated staff and/or students that are identified as a close contact will not be required to quarantine.

Quarantining for 14 days is still required for close contact exposure to a confirmed case within 6 feet of the confirmed case for a cumulative period of 15 minutes over 24 hours and not fully vaccinated in all other settings outside of the classroom, to include, but not limited to lunchrooms, buses, and extracurricular activities. These exposures will be assessed by the School Nurses or the District’s liaison and discussed with MCDH staff.

Quarantine Period Before Returning to In-person Instruction

Close contacts of a known COVID-19 case that are in quarantine may be permitted to attend in-person instruction only after 10 days under the following conditions:

  • Close contact remains asymptomatic since the date of their known exposure
  • Close contact has ability to strictly adhere to mask wearing, social distancing, and hand and cough hygiene while attending in-person instruction

This 10 day option is only permitted for in-person education. This option is not permitted for extracurricular activities including sports. Although close contacts may return to in-person instruction, they shall continue to quarantine when outside of the classroom setting for the full 14 days since the date they were last known to have been exposed. 

Close contacts are considered potentially infectious until 14 days after the date they were last known to have been exposed. If the close contact experiences any symptoms during the 14 days after they were last known to have been exposed, they should immediately self-isolate and alert their local health department regarding this change in clinical status. MCDH requires that close contacts are to be monitored through the IDPH symptom monitoring system in order to use this option.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience throughout this year.

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